The InfoWars app was removed from the Google Play Store on Friday, in response to a video in which conspiracy theorist Alex Jones spread disinformation about the novel coronavirus COVID-19.
Just as on his radio show and other online platforms, Jones published false information via the InfoWars app, which had more than a 100,000 downloads at the time of its removal from the app store.
In addition to broadcasting The Alex Jones Show live, products were also sold through the app, including supplements and protein powders. The New York Times found that alternative medicine supplements were a lucrative business for Jones, generating more than $15 million in sales for InfoWars in 2014.
His videos included ads for supplements which Jones claimed could protect buyers from the coronavirus. Instead, the supplements contained “nanosilver,” a rebranded name for colloidal silver, which has a long history in alternative medicine circles despite repeated FDA warnings against its use. Colloidal silver has no known effect on COVID-19, nor any mechanism by which it might. Jones made similar anti-viral claims about supplement toothpaste and mouth gargle for sale by InfoWars, appending a disclaimer disavowing claims surrounding their efficacy “in the cure treatment, prevention or mitigation of any disease, including the novel coronavirus.”
“Now more than ever, combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team,” a Google spokesperson told Wired, confirming Google had pulled the InfoWars app from its Play Store. “When we find apps that violate Play policy by distributing misleading or harmful information, we remove them from the store.”
According to Wired, the final straw was a video in which Jones enfolded the coronavirus into his typical medley of one world government paranoia, extraterrestrials and Christian demonology.
“Everybody dies under the New World Order except maybe one tenth of one percent that believe they’re going to merge with machines and have made deals with this interdimensional thing that gave them all the technology,” Jones says in the offending video. “You can’t make a deal with these aliens that the Bible tells you about and ever get off the planet.”
Google’s ban on the InfoWars app comes more than a year after Jones was booted from other major technology platforms, including Twitter, YouTube and Apple’s iOS App Store.
The last wave of tech platform InfoWars bans were prompted by Jones spreading repeatedly debunked conspiracy theories regarding white genocide and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting, which the InfoWars founder described as “a giant hoax.”
On March 16, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn released a joint industry statement, which pledged to combat “fraud and misinformation about the virus” and elevate “authoritative content” on their platforms.