Vox Sentences: Alex Jones gets no-platformed

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Several major online tech platforms remove Alex Jones and his Infowars content from their sites; a tragedy on Bangladeshi roads sparks massive protests.


Jonesing for a platform

 Ben Jackson/Getty Images for SiriusXM
  • YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, and Apple have decided to remove content associated with far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website, Infowars, from their platforms on Sunday and Monday. All say that Jones has violated their policies banning hate speech. [CNN / Charles Riley]
  • Apple, which removed Jones’s content from iTunes on Sunday night, was the first major platform to issue a ban. Within hours, the “dominoes began to fall” as the other platforms followed suit. [Vox / Aja Romano]
  • Every company has said, in some way or another, that they do not “tolerate hate speech” that “attacks or dehumanizes others.” But it’s unclear what prompted this sudden desire to ban Jones given that his hateful rhetoric has persisted for years. [AP / Barbara Ortutay]
  • The wave began when Spotify, YouTube, and Facebook removed selected content last week. This series of new bans is the most severe action any platform has taken against Jones and hate speech in general. [Washington Post / Hamza Shaban]
  • Jones, a staunch supporter of President Trump, and Infowars are known for promoting extremist conspiracy theories and violent, racist, and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Jones is most infamous for supporting a conspiracy theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax. He is being sued by the parents of a Sandy Hook victim for disseminating this theory, and the case has big implications for how we define free speech, no matter the outcome. [Wired / Emma Grey Ellis]
  • Jones said that the bans were “a counter-strike against the global awakening.” [Washington Post / Hamza Shaban, Craig Timberg, and Isaac Stanley-Becker]
  • Jones fans and supporters also argue that “Big Tech” is violating Jones’s right to free speech, and by proxy, “engaging in election meddling and COLLUSION.” [Vox / Jane Coaston]
  • But private companies aren’t legally bound to the First Amendment or to laws preventing censorship committed by the government. [San Fransisco Chronicle / Marissa Lang]
  • Twitter, which receives consistent backlash for its flawed hate speech policies, has not banned Jones and Infowars because it maintains they have not violated any of its policies. [CNBC / Sara Salinas and Sally Shin]

A traffic accident triggers massive violent protests in Bangladesh

  • A traffic accident that killed two schoolchildren in Bangladesh has sparked large, violent protests across its capital, Dhaka. The city, with a population of 18 million, has effectively come to a standstill. [BBC]
  • The protests began after a privately operated bus ran over a group of children on July 29, killing two and injuring several others. Thousands of student protesters are demanding improvements to Bangladesh’s road safety standards. [CNN / Sugam Pokharel, Farid Ahmed, and Bard Wilkinson]
  • Dhaka South City Corporation Mayor Sayeed Khokon and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have vowed to regulate the buses and decrease the number of chaotic routes that lead to rising bus crash casualties. [Dhaka Tribune / Shohel Mamun and Bilkis Irani]
  • The government also increased the punishment for fatal crashes to five years in jail in order to appease protesters. [Indian Express]
  • Police have used violent and authoritarian tactics to control protesters. They shut down mobile access to the internet and fired rubber bullets and tear gas into crowds. Pro-government activists have also attacked protesters. [Al Jazeera]
  • The protesters, for their part, have blocked roads and set up checkpoints where they check licenses and roadworthiness certificates, which is legally mandatory but rarely enforced. They are still letting emergency vehicles through. [Guardian / Michael Safi]
  • Photojournalists are, meanwhile, under attack. One of the country’s most famous journalists was forcibly taken by police for interrogation, and others were attacked while on the job. [Quartz / Maria Thomas]
  • At least 4,284 people were killed in car crashes in Bangladesh in 2017, up 25 percent from the 2016 death toll. [Dhaka Tribune]

Miscellaneous

Musician, poet, and activist Bob Dylan is going on tour for the first time since winning the 2016 Nobel Prize in literature. His tour focuses on cities across the American South. [Consequence of Sound / Lake Schatz]

  • Los Angeles animal shelters have hit capacity, and the lives of 250 animals are at stake. [LAist / Ryan Fonseca]
  • MoviePass, the company that subsidizes movie tickets under a subscription program, will live another day. But subscribers aren’t particularly happy with the changes that will allow the cash-strapped company to survive. [Vice / Rick Paulas]
  • A new app shows what your future face will look like if you choose to skip facial sunscreen in your skin care routine. It’s essentially an advisory to consistently slather up. [Tonic / Susan Rinkunas]

Verbatim

“Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.” [Beyoncé on her complicated ancestry and her twins in a rare interview for Vogue’s September issue]


Watch this: How “levee wars” are making floods worse

How “levee wars” are making floods worse — explained with a giant scientific model. [YouTube / Katie Campbell and Ranjani Chakraborty]


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