Roku is the latest Big Tech company to censor radio host and TV personality Alex Jones’ Infowars, as the company deleted a fan-made Infowars Live channel less than 24 hours after it went public on the platform.
In a now-deleted tweet, Roku first promised to protect the First Amendment rights of all Americans and allow the content to remain on the platform. It was later followed up with a second tweet explaining their decision to delete the app.
After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform. Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.
— Roku (@Roku) January 16, 2019
Speaking to Big League Politics via phone, the creator of the channel, John, who preferred to keep his last name anonymous, explained that he is in no way associated with or employed by Infowars. A software developer by profession, John explains that the channel was made as a personal project, so he could enjoy Infowars’ programming on a television set.
John, who describes himself as a decade-long fan of Infowars, began work on the now-deleted app on Veterans Day of 2018, deciding to find a new way to consume Infowars content when the company was banned from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and its mobile app was banned from Apple and Android devices. After going through a lengthy review process to make sure the channel would meet Roku’s standards, it was published early during the evening on January 14, 2019.
“I started to realize the monopoly these technology companies have on our lives,” John explained, “I really started thinking critically about this, and thought that as a developer, I can’t make an app and just send it to someone’s phone. With Roku, I could make a private channel.”
He then used this feature to make a beta version of the channel, which he shared with a limited group of friends and family as he continued to test and program the application along side his wife, who provided graphic design work for the project.
The channel was deleted at approximately 6 pm on January 15, 2019. The creator explained that he received no notification of its removal or explanation from Roku, and when he attempted to learn more about the ban, he was invited to create a support ticket that would receive a response in 48 hours.
John also explained that Roku’s review process ensured the company knew what content the channel provided, as evidenced by a video recorded by a Roku employee showing the channel working properly, playing a live segment of The Alex Jones Show. The video was sent to John by the employee as part of the company’s quality assurance testing, and it was reviewed by Big League Politics.
“These people control your TVs,” John told Big League Politics, expressing his frustration with the ban.
“We need to get creative about how we approach this from our side,” John continued, “Roku initially took the position that they don’t want to take sides, and then they turned around and decided they just didn’t want the liberal outrage.”
“I think we need to get outraged. We need to push back. I think that’s what Alex Jones would do.”
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