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Alex Jones

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Extreme right media host ordered to pay $1.1 billion for spreading lies about Sandy Hook school massacre.

Alex Jones is an American far-right radio show host and prominent conspiracy theorist who runs InfoWars, one of the most influential conspiracy websites. The extreme-right media platform created in 1999 receives more than 10 million visits a month (SimilarWeb data) and generates annual sales estimated at several tens of millions of dollars.

Jones spreads a variety of conspiracy narratives, including theories about 9/11, moon landing, water chemicals turning frogs gay, electoral fraud, pizzagate and chemtrails.

In 2012, Jones disseminated fake news on InfoWars about the Sandy Hook school mass shooting in Connecticut. He claimed that relatives of the pupils and staff members killed at the school were actors and that the massacre was staged by anti-gun activists. This persistent conspiracy theory has spread across the internet. In 2018, YouTube took action against InfoWars, issuing a “strike” and removing a video where Jones accused a Parkland shooting survivor of being a paid “crisis actor”, citing policy violations related to harassment and bullying. Subsequently, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify collectively removed all content by Jones and InfoWars later that year, pointing to policy violations such as hate speech and glorification of violence. In October 2022, Jones was ordered to pay more than $1.4 billion dollars in compensation to the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre. He declared bankruptcy and was again ordered in October 2023, to still pay $1.1 billion to families affected by the shooting, defamed by his repeated lies that the massacre was a hoax.

Despite the crackdown on channels, media, accounts and pages associated with Jones from major digital platforms, InfoWars still maintains a substantial audience. In February 2020, the web analytics firm Quantcast reported that the website had approximately 3.34 million unique readers. 

The court-ordered payout to Sandy Hook victims' families that Jones says has bankrupted him has not stopped him circulating conspiracy theories. In an interview on the “Full Contact” program hosted by Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov in September 2023, Jones asserted that the United States is under the sway of influential “oligarchs” such as “Klaus Schwab and Bill Gates”. He also claimed to have faced threats of assassination due to his revelations. Adding another layer to his narrative, Jones contended that billionaire philanthropist George Soros had initiated hostilities against Russia a decade ago. 

On Monday, December 11, 2023, Alex Jones was reinstated on X by Elon Musk. Just three days later, he has gained over 800,000 followers on the platform formerly known as Twitter.

 

(Last updated on 12/26/2023)

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