Google has banned the Android Infowars app from the Google Play store, the company confirmed to Wired on Friday. Google also confirmed the removal of the app to The Verge, and tonight we couldn’t find the Infowars app in a search on the Play Store.
Apparently, the app was removed due to a video posted by radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones who, according to Wired, “disputed the need for social estrangement, shelter-in-place, and quarantine efforts aimed at curbing the spread of the new coronavirus. ” Before it was removed, the app had more than 100,000 downloads, reports Wired.
“Now more than ever, combating misinformation on the Play Store is a priority for the team,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement given to The Verge. “When we find apps that violate Play’s policy by distributing 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 cure for coronavirus. “The latest falsehoods of [Alex Jones” are incredibly dangerous and pose a serious threat to the public health of New Yorkers and people across the country, “James said in a statement.
Tech companies have also publicly committed to cracking down on misinformation about the coronavirus. Google has an “SOS Alert” to search for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, which points to resources from CDC and local governments at the top of search results. And a group of companies that includes Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube said they are “jointly fighting fraud and misinformation about the virus” in a statement released March 16.
Apple permanently banned the Infowars app from the App Store in September 2018, citing App Store guidelines that prohibit content that is “offensive, callous, disruptive, intended to dislike, or have exceptionally poor taste.”