Infowars host, still verified on Twitter, calls for lynching of Obama

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that he's focused on improving "the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation" on Twitter.

It's a sentiment echoed by other social media companies. In a June 5 statement, YouTube said it was its responsibility to "prevent our platform from being used to incite hatred, harassment, discrimination and violence," YouTube said in .

They have a long way to go.

Conspiracy website InfoWars and its founder Alex Jones were banned by Youtube in August 2018. Twitter booted InfoWars and Jones the next month.

Yesterday, Owen Shroyer, who hosts an InfoWars show called "War Room," called for the lynching of former President Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is a treasonous… He belongs in jail. He belongs in Guantanamo Bay. I mean look -- I'm not saying this should happen -- but Barack Obama, find the tallest tree and a rope.

On Wednesday afternoon, a video of Shroyer's show was available on YouTube.

Although Shroyer is banned from YouTube, the video of the InfoWars show was simply uploaded by another user. YouTube does not appear to have systems in place that prevent InfoWars content from being uploaded.

After Popular Information alerted YouTube to the video, the company removed the video and the account that uploaded it. YouTube told Popular Information that any channel that uploads InfoWars content (without commentary or context) will be removed.

But even after Popular Information contacted YouTube, multiple copies of Shroyer's Tuesday show, when he called for Obama to be lynched, remained on the service.

Shroyer is not banned from Twitter. He has a verified account.

On Tuesday, Shroyer used his Twitter account to promote the livestream of the show where he called for Obama to be lynched.

As evident from those tweets, Shroyer also uses his account as a way of promoting Jones and Infowars on Twitter.

Why does Shroyer still have a Twitter account?

Twitter banned InfoWars and Alex Jones last September, citing "Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts' past violations." But Shroyer was spared. Why?

Twitter says it prohibits "targeting individuals with repeated slurs, tropes or other content that intends to dehumanize, degrade or reinforce negative or harmful stereotypes about a protected category." But on an episode of his InfoWars show earlier this year, Shroyer referred to gay people as "'mentally ill' and biologically 'abnormal.'"

Twitter also says it prohibits "behavior that harasses or intimidates, or is otherwise intended to shame or degrade others." In September 2018, Shroyer said Christine Blasey Ford, one of the women who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, was a "high school floozie who may or may not have drunkenly fell into bed with one man or 100 men." Shroyer says he was temporarily suspended from Twitter for his remarks.

During an October 2018 broadcast, Shroyer went to the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. and hectored African-American visitors, saying they were members of a "cult" and "choose not to be part of the African-American revolution that’s happening right now."

Shroyer is Alex Jones' right-hand man. It's hard to understand how Jones' conduct violates Twitter's policies but Shroyer is in compliance.

How InfoWars makes a mockery of its Twitter ban

Shroyer has used his account to circumvent Twitter's InfoWars ban. But he is not alone. There is a network of accounts, with ties to Jones and InfoWars, that promote InfoWars content on Twitter.

"Deplorable Hill" has visited Shroyer on his set and uses his account to promote Jones and InfoWars. Hill even livestreams InfoWars' show using Periscope broadcasting tool.

There is a network of accounts that stream InfoWars content on Periscope. The first line of the Twitter account for "Ron Gibson" is "Feeds From Infowars.com."

Paul Joseph Watson, the editor of InfoWars.com, also still has an active and verified Twitter account. Watson frequently co-hosts Jones' show and uses his Twitter account to promote InfoWars content and conspiracy theories. Watson's Twitter handle is @prisonplanet, which is an InfoWars' brand.

Watson has been banned from Facebook and Instagram but not Twitter or YouTube.

InfoWars content is, however, still available on Facebook. There are 12,000 people who are members of the "Infowars Media" page on Facebook.

Here is how the page describes itself.

This page is provided by Infowarriors on behalf of Infowarriors who are engaged in the war for truth and information as well as to maintain our freedom of speech.  We are your connection to Infowars here on this social media platform.

The page regularly publishes content from Leo Lyon Zagami, an InfoWars contributor.

How bigots and conspiracy theorists pay the bills

It's apparently hard to make a good living these days as a conspiracy theorist. In a video posted to Twitter, Shroyer laments that he's been banned from Facebook and YouTube and "the only platform I have, Infowars.com, is totally under attack." He's decided to raise money through crowdfunding.

The most prominent crowdfunding site for content creators, Patreon, has recently kicked out members of the far right and conspiracy theorists. So Shroyer has set up a page on Subscribestar, a service that caters to people like him.

SubscribeStar currently hosts a roster of more than 100 “stars,” consisting almost entirely of rightwing activists and pornographers.

A slew of rightwing activists began promoting SubscribeStar as their preferred crowdfunding site earlier this month after Patreon, the market leader, banned YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as “Sargon of Akkad”, and Milo Yiannopoulos from its site.

[Mike] Cernovich — who is best known for his work on US conspiracy theory website InfoWars, and for personally promoting the “Pizzagate” conspiracy, which falsely claimed Hillary Clinton was linked to a pedophile ring at a Washington DC pizza parlor — told his 440,000 Facebook followers that SubscribeStar was the “best way to support independent media and journalism”.

An article published Monday on Infowars.com says that after "Big Tech’s scorched-earth censorship campaign, social media site SubscribeStar has emerged as one of the dominant platforms for creators to maintain their independence."

Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson have also launched Subscribestar accounts. Thus far, Jones has attracted 96 subscribers paying between $5 and $250 monthly.

Payment processors Stripe and PayPal won't allow Subscribestar to use their service. Subscribestar apparently found an alternative payment processor, Payoneer, which boasts of high profile clients like Airbnb. Payoneer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Popular Information.


This is the online version of Popular Information, a newsletter about politics — written by me, Judd Legum. Sign up to get accountability journalism in your inbox.


REMINDER: There will be no Popular Information next week. I’ll return to your inbox on Monday, July 1. You can see a full list of scheduled days off here.