“There’s No Such Thing As Bad Press”
is a term often passed around by those looking to stay in the spotlight. And for some – some who really know how to handle the press – this has proven totally accurate. Singers, pop starts, athletes, businessmen, and social media icons are all experts at maneuvering “bad press” into attention to their name – which leads people to get to know them better and become more invested in what they are and what they do.
There’s no one better at managing bad press than President Donald Trump, a man around whom new and terrible tales seem to sprout up every few hours. Despite this, his followers and supporters remain loyal. If there was to be a book on managing bad press, President Trump would be the best candidate to write it.
Though at the moment, those in charge of “Infowars” aren’t doing too bad a job either.
In an attempt to silence the controversy created by “Fake News” Conspiracy Theory site Infowars, tech companies have moved to ban the platform from their services. The companies who have so far banned Infowars are Google, Facebook, and Apple, who have not only deleted anyway for Infowars to use their services to push content but have gone back and deleted all records of the source.
First off: A bit of irony here. Infowars has, in the past, stated that tech companies like Google will be moving to eliminate and do away with opinions they disagree with, limiting free speech on their platform. This theory was quickly followed up by Infowars being banned from Google. Is Google actually limiting freedom of speech, or just enforcing their rules? There’s a lot of arguments for both sides, but one can’t help to admit that the timing is quite ironic.
Second: the Official Infowars App is currently ranked at #3 (!!!) on Apple’s listing of “News” Apps. And while Apple has deleted the site’s podcasts from their logs, they are not about to delete the App, as it does not violate any of their rules.
According to an estimation from Randy Nelson of Sensor Tower (A company that tracks app data) in an article on NYTimes, the app is likely getting around 30,000 to 40,000 downloads per day, up from the couple hundred to one thousand downloads it was getting before it hit trending.
So what’s on the app? A whole lot of Infowars. The interface includes three sections: One for articles, one for podcasts by Alex Jones, and one for Merchandise. The Merch either features the “Infowars” brand somewhere on the item or references one of the site’s more popular theories.
The overall tone and feel of the app, the site, and the entire platform is energetic and aggressive. The claims it makes are abrasive and absurd, but many are just believable enough to be taken as fact if one isn’t willing to do the digging and check other sources. The main strategy appears to be to stick one central phrase in the head of a reader, such as “‘WEEKLY STANDARD CALLS FOR MORE BIG TECH CENSORSHIP IN WAKE OF ALEX JONES PURGE” and “MUSLIM EXTREMISTS TRAINED CHILDREN TO COMMIT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS“.
After that, the claim might be met with disagreement and disbelief from others, but a select few of those may visit Infowars, and even if they don’t agree with the first thing they see, later find a different theory that they do agree with.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some of the articles written on the site. The issue arises when a reader chooses to take only Infowars as “real news” and refuses information from all other sources. This kind of “Data Isolation” is always dangerous, regardless of whether a person chooses to isolate themselves to content written by Infowars, content written by CNN, content written by Fox News, or NPR, BBC, NBC, etc.
Theories like the ones spread by Infowars – Ones designed to be shocking yet believable – can quickly spiral out of control if left unchecked. The greater populace seems to be aware that Infowars is not a reliable source of information, so the app’s swing in popularity may not last long. Hopefully, those downloading the app and consuming the content will remember to check their sources before buying into everything they read.