Conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder Alex Jones, that guy who thinks the government is flooding waterways with chemicals that turn frogs gay and also that mass shooting survivors are paid-off “crisis actors,” announced on Saturday night that YouTube was planning on deleting his channel, which has nearly 2.3 million subscribers and thousands of videos. But according to YouTube, that’s yet another fiction Jones cooked up.
Some context: Jones has recently been on thin ice with YouTube, and this week he was reportedly one strike away from a total ban after using the channel to spread “crisis actor” theories about the survivors of a school massacre in Parkland, Florida. Infowars’ DC bureau chief and resident Barack-Obama-is-gay expert, Jerome Corsi, found his own account purged just a few days ago—though YouTube later restored the channel and did not reply to repeated requests for comment as to why from Gizmodo, and it’s walked back bans of at least some right-wing content lately.
Lots of people have essentially been waiting for the hammer to drop on Jones’ presumably profitable main YouTube channel, which he conveniently uses to advertise his line of pricey and dubious health supplements, but it just hasn’t happened yet despite a massive exodus in advertisers. Infowars also reportedly has 11 YouTube channels in total. On Saturday, Jones tweeted the purge was finally coming and directed viewers to a new channel, “Infowars Censored.”
“The Alex Jones channel with billions of views is frozen,” he wrote. “We have been told it will be deleted tomorrow and all 33 thousands videos will be erased.”
According to YouTube, this just isn’t what is happening, that’s not how the process works (there’s a three strikes policy and appeals process), and they didn’t tell him that. Instead, there are no plans to summarily delete Jones’ account on Sunday at present, but the company did recently inform him about the advertisers fleeing his channel.
YouTube’s rules page also notes banned users “are prohibited from accessing, possessing, or creating” further accounts, so if someone as high-profile as Jones was truly going to be kicked off the site, simply creating a new channel is not going to work. (Just look at Twitter white supremacist Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, who tried to evade a ban on the social network by returning with the not-so-clever handle @notbakedalaska and was promptly banned again.) One might also note that Jones is in the middle of Operation Paul Revere 2018, a pledge drive claiming Infowars needs donations to fight back against censorship.
It’s possible that Jones received a third strike of some kind as he claimed, and there seems to be a lot of momentum lately towards shutting down one of his most prominent platforms—but Jones’ relationship to the truth is best described as estranged. There’s no reason to believe his narrative on whatever is happening now or whatever happens next.
Update, 6:12pm ET: Jones’ channel is still alive and well on YouTube, with two videos uploaded today alone. The first is titled, “IS THIS THE LAST VIDEO OF ALEX JONES ON YOUTUBE?”, while the second calls CNN’s coverage of advertisers fleeing his channel fake news. Hmm.
Update, 7:30pm ET: Still there!