Roku says it will continue to host Alex Jones’ conspiracy-theory channel Infowars despite public outcry, stating that the company doesn’t “curate or censor based on viewpoint.”
In a statement, first reported by TechCrunch, Roku says that it is not “promoting or being paid to distribute InfoWars” and that it does “not have a commercial relationship with the InfoWars.”
Roku has been receiving angry tweets from users over the past few days after many noticed that Infowars continues to be available on the TV streaming device, as first reported by DigiDay. Infowars, known for its hateful content, was effectively de-platformed last year after being booted from Apple’s App Store, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, dramatically limiting its ability to reach viewers.
But Roku says that Infowars hasn’t broken any of its rules. The company says it prohibits publication of content that is “unlawful, incites illegal activities, or violates third-party rights,” but that “to our knowledge, InfoWars is not currently in violation of these content policies.”
Infowars host Alex Jones has referred to the Sandy Hook massacre as something that didn’t happen, called Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg a crisis actor, and contributed to the harmful Pizzagate conspiracy theory.
Roku doesn’t have clearly defined rules over what it considers hate content, unlike major digital distribution companies such as Apple and YouTube. The closest that its developer distribution agreement from 2018 comes to tackling hate content is acknowledging that developers can’t use materials which, “harm, threaten, harass, bully, or defame any end user or constitute hate speech.” Its policies also state that properties including “false, irrelevant, or misleading information” aren’t allowed.
Infowars is known for promoting conspiracy theories, many of which do include hateful content targeting individuals, and videos that present false and misleading information. The families of Sandy Hook victims are currently in the middle of a lawsuit against Jones for perpetuating the false claim that the shooting, which killed 26 people, was a hoax. Pizzagate, which Jones contributed to promoting, ended with a man showing up at a pizza parlor in Washington, DC with a gun.