Roku Pulled Its InfoWars Channel, But Only After Users Revolted

The service learned the same lesson as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others

Roku initially defended itself, claiming that 'voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel.'
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Roku is in hot water after initially defending its decision to offer users InfoWars, a channel hosted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. But the service soon learned what other players in the industry—including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify and Apple—learned months ago. After a swift backlash over giving Jones’ rhetoric a platform, the company announced Tuesday night that it would remove the far-right channel.

In a statement to Digiday, which first reported the news on Tuesday, Roku initially defended itself, claiming that “voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel” and that it was not being paid to promote or distribute InfoWars.

“We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint,” the service said in the statement, according to Digiday.

But that wasn’t good enough for many users, who took to social media to voice their concerns:





By 8 p.m. the same day, Roku had backed down. “After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform,” Roku said in a second statement to Digiday. “Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.”

In a request for an additional comment today, the company sent back that statement.

Roku, which offers its own ad-supported channel and sells streaming devices and smart TVs, reported 23.8 million active accounts in Q3 last year.


@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.
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