InfoWars host Alex Jones may no longer be able to publish content on YouTube and iTunes, but the companies haven’t removed his content entirely.
In fact, not only is the InfoWars app still available in both stores, it appears to be thriving.
In the Google Play Store, the InfoWars app is prominently promoted in the store’s “News & Magazines” section, where it’s listed as one of the “Top New Free News & Magazines.”
In Apple’s App Store, the InfoWars app is ranked No. 37 on its news app charts, ahead of apps from Bloomberg and MSNBC.
Neither company provides download numbers, but app analytics firm Sensor Tower estimates the app has been downloaded about 60,000 times since it was first released on July 9. The previous InfoWars app, which was discontinued when the new version launched, was also popular, attracting more than 1 million downloads, according to estimates from Apptopia.
The InfoWars app lets users watch Jones’ broadcasts, read articles, and buy items from InfoWars’ online store.
If it seems like a contradiction that Apple and Google would simultaneously ban Jones and InfoWars from distributing content via podcasts and YouTube videos while also allowing him to distribute shows via the InfoWars app, that’s because it is. Neither company responded to a request for comment regarding the InfoWars app.
But there are a few key differences between the app and Jones’ podcasts and YouTube channels, distinctions the companies may be using to justify keeping the app around. As Business Insider points out, the apps only let you watch live shows, not ones that have previously aired. So the shows that prompted Apple and Google’s bans aren’t currently available in the app.
Even so, it’s not a great look for the companies, which have been repeatedly criticized for not standing up to Jones and InfoWars sooner.
Apple and Google aren’t the only platforms that have struggled to consistently apply their policies as it relates to Jones. Facebook has also faced pressure to ban InfoWars for months, but only did so after Apple, Spotify, and others acted first. That’s despite the fact that InfoWars and Jones are some of the best-known purveyors of conspiracy theories that target the victims of mass shootings, which Facebook says it prohibits.
Meanwhile, Twitter, which hasn’t taken any action against Jones or InfoWars, appeared to reverse its longstanding policy of refusing to comment on “individual accounts” by reaffirming that Jones’ Twitter account hasn’t violated the company’s policies.
All this underscores just how difficult it’s been for major platforms to deal with Jones. Though many executives will quickly renounce much of InfoWars content, they’ve been reluctant to impose outright bans, as they’ve already faced backlash from conservatives who believe the Bay Area companies are disproportionately censoring them.