Google has banned the Infowars Android app from the Google Play Store, the company confirmed to Wired Friday. Google also confirmed the removal of the app for The edge, and we couldn’t find the Infowars app in a search on the Play Store tonight.
The app was apparently deleted due to a video posted by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who, according to Wired, “Contested the need for social distancing, shelter in place and quarantine efforts to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.” Before it was removed, the app had over 100,000 downloads, Wired reports.
“Today more than ever, fighting misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The edge. “When we find apps that violate Google Play policy by spreading misleading or harmful information, we remove them from the store.” Infowars was not immediately available for comment.
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered Alex Jones to stop selling Infowars products that were marketed as a treatment or remedy for coronavirus. “[Alex Jones’] the latest lies are incredibly dangerous and pose a serious threat to the public health of New Yorkers and individuals across the country, “said James in a report.
Tech companies have also publicly committed to cracking down on disinformation about coronaviruses. Google has set up an “SOS alert” for searches for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which points to top of search results resources from the CDC and local governments. And a group of companies that includes Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube said they “jointly fight fraud and disinformation about the virus” in a statement released on March 16.
Apple permanently banned the Infowars app from the App Store in September 2018, citing guidelines from the App Store that prohibit content “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended for disgust or unusually bad taste”.