- The Washington Times - Friday, February 23, 2018

A YouTube account operated by far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is reportedly close to being shut down upon running afoul of the platform’s harassment policies after last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

The Alex Jones Channel was cited this week for violating YouTube’s rules against bullying, putting the popular account at risk of being shuttered pending any further infractions, CNN reported Friday.

The channel received a single “strike” in response to a video it posted about David Hogg, a 17-year-old Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who has publicly advocated for gun reform in the wake of surviving the Feb. 14 massacre, CNN reported.

YouTube accounts that receive three strikes in as many months are terminated, according to the platform’s community guidelines, meaning two more infractions before May could mark the Alex Jones Channel’s end.

The infringing video, “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines In TV Interview,” suggested the student was “coached” in interviews he gave after surviving the Feb. 14 school shooting that resulted in 14 deaths in more than a dozen injuries.

“Last summer we updated the application of our harassment policy to include hoax videos that target the victims of these tragedies,” a YouTube spokesperson told CNN. “Any video flagged to us that violates this policy is reviewed and then removed.”

The Alex Jones Channel is one of several YouTube accounts linked to Mr. Jones, 44, a talk show host and publisher of the controversial InfoWars website frequently accused of propagating fake news and conspiracy theories. The channel has been in operation since 2008 and currently boasts over 2.2 million subscribers.

CNN’s article broke during Friday’s live YouTube broadcast of “The Alex Jones Show,” prompting a real-time reaction from the host carried across the same platform he risks being denied.

“You’ve got scripted anti-gun kids with their parents on TV, young adults, high schoolers, high school seniors, and I can’t say, look at this bumbling, scripted interview?” Mr. Jones said during the broadcast.

“We’re not saying he’s an actor in that there was no shooting,” he said. “We are saying he has scripted anti-gun lines.”

Mr. Jones has previously touted conspiracies in the wake of school shootings, most notably when he called the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre a “hoax” and “completely fake.” More recently he came under fire for propagating the so-called “Pizzagate” conspiracy that culminated in one of his listeners opening fire inside a D.C. pizzeria in late 2016.

President Trump appeared on Mr. Jones‘ show in 2015, and former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone co-hosts “War Room,” a program produced under the same InfoWars umbrella.

A version of the infringing video cited by CNN remained accessible on “War Room’s” YouTube channel as of Friday afternoon.

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