Google has finally kicked the Infowars app from its Play Store, the company confirmed to multiple outlets Friday. The tech giant’s app store was one of the last major bastions for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, as his show (and all the extremist views and tainted supplements it touts) has been booted from nearly every mainstream online platform.
As first reported by Wired, the Android app’s removal appears to be in response to the radio host’s recent bogus covid-19 video that “disputed the need for social distancing, shelter in place, and quarantine efforts meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.” All of which are precautions that have been echoed by health authorities for months and have demonstrably proven paramount in flattening China’s curve.
“Now more than ever, combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team,” a Google spokesperson told Wired. “When we find apps that violate Play policy by distributing misleading or harmful information, we remove them from the store.”
Before it was removed, the InfoWars app had more than 100,000 downloads, Wired reported. It hosted broadcasts of InfoWars programming like The Alex Jones show and directed users to the site’s store that, until a recent cease-and-desist letter, hawked phony toothpaste under the false pretense that it “kills the whole SARS-corona family at point-blank range.”
Jones disputed Google’s decision in a response posted to InfoWars’ video platform (YouTube banned all his content in 2018). In a winding rant, he attributed the takedown to an anti-American, anti-Trump conspiracy among big tech players. The controversial video in question, he explained, was flagged because he shared supposed treatments for the novel coronavirus outbreak—none of which have yet been supported or proven effective by the medical community at large.
“This is next level suppression of free speech and the American people,” Jones said in one of several videos responding to Google’s ban. Ironically, during the process of defending himself, Jones double-downed on his previous claims that social distancing practices are “un-American,” which is likely one of the examples of harmful information that led to Google’s decision in the first place.
Apple decided back in 2018 to bar InfoWars’ app from its iOS store at a time when platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were issuing similar takedowns against Jones, leading many to wonder why Google’s app store remained one of the show’s last remaining strongholds. Earlier this month, Google joined a coalition of major social media companies—including Facebook, Reddit, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, and YouTube—in issuing a joint statement on combating misinformation related to the pandemic. That appears to have been the final push Google needed to finally disavow the infamous conspiracy theorist.