After an intense reaction on social media, Roku has backtracked on its decision to allow the InfoWars channel on its service. In a tweet announcing the change, the streaming platform said it had made the decision after hearing from “stakeholders,” and that the channel’s removal should be completed shortly.
After the channel’s presence on the platform came to light, Roku initially tried to justify its decision by saying that it did not “cure or rely on point of view point of view.” While it said it had policies to prevent content that is “illegal, incited illegal” activities, or violates the rights of third parties, it said InfoWars did not violate those policies.
Once the InfoWars channel was available, we listened to stakeholders and determined that the channel should be removed from our platform. The removal of the platform and channel store has started and will be completed shortly.
– Roku (@Roku) January 16, 2019
In its statement announcing the decision to remove the channel, Roku did not say that InfoWars had broken any of its rules, as most of the other platforms that have removed the channel have. It did not clarify whether the “stakeholders” were users or advertisers who did not want their brands to be displayed alongside the InfoWars channel.
InfoWars and its host, Alex Jones, have now been removed from most of the major online platforms, including Apple’s App Store, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, who claimed that the channel violated various policies around offensive content. The channel has come under sustained criticism for promoting various conspiracy theories, including Pizzagate, and the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked using paid “crisis actors.” The families of the victims of the massacre are suing the channel for defamation.