Spotify has responded to criticism for the music service’s hosting of “The Alex Jones Show,” by removing some episodes of the radio show featuring the conspiracy theorist and host of far-right site Infowars.
The music streaming service issued a statement Thursday saying “specific episodes” of the show were removed “for violating our hate content policy.”
Whether that will be enough to satisfy detractors remains to be seen. Spotify did not say how many episodes were removed, but hundreds remain, ranging from Wednesday’s episode to one from June 2017.
Some Twitter commenters complained that Spotify had only removed four episodes. “It’s laughable,” said one person in a Twitter thread started after “The New York Times” music industry reporter Ben Sisario tweeted Wednesday about Spotify’s action. “I still see 613 episodes online and available!” said another.
Spotify has been the target of a deluge of critical comments, as calls for the removal of Jones’ radio show began hitting Twitter Monday morning. Jones and Infowars are known for promoting conspiracy theories and have drawn the wrath of the anti-Trump assemblage.
Many in opposition to Jones’ being on Spotify tweeted about his comments purporting the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting never happened and instead was performed by child actors. Some families affected by the shooting have sued Jones.
Jones also promoted the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton operated a child sex ring at Comet Ping Pong, a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C. On Dec. 4, 2016, a North Carolina man opened fire inside the pizza shop. Jones subsequently apologized to the restaurant owner.
Spotify is just the latest to feel the anti-Jones wrath. Earlier this month, Facebook was challenged to explain why Infowars remains on the social network, despite its crackdown on the spread of fabricated news. And, last week, YouTube removed four of Jones’ videos from his channel on the video sharing site and suspended him from broadcasting live for 90 days saying the channel violated the company’s graphic content policy.
Spotify seemed to offer similar reasoning for removing some episodes. “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community,” the company’s statement said.
Back in May, Spotify’s hate content policy came into play when it removed music from R. Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion from its playlists, a move reflecting concerns raised by the #MeToo movement — and the service’s Hate Content and Hateful Conduct policy.
Three weeks later, Spotify reversed course on the playlist bans for the actions taken for those artists, calling its policy too vague. “We created confusion, and didn’t spend enough time getting input from our own team and key partners before sharing new guidelines,” it said in a policy update posted online. “As we’ve done before, we will remove content that violates that standard. We’re not talking about offensive, explicit, or vulgar content – we’re talking about hate speech.”
Jones and Infowars have declined comment on the situation, but have not stood pat. Last month, Inofwars launched its own mobile app and it has been downloaded about 84,000 times, according to Apptopia, and users have logged more than 500,000 hours in the app.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.