Just days after Google, Facebook and Apple purged videos and podcasts from the right-wing conspiracy site Infowars from their sites, the Infowars app has become one of the hottest in the country.
On Wednesday, Infowars was the No. 1 overall “trending” app on the Google Play store, a metric that reflects its sudden momentum. Among news apps, Infowars was No. 3 on Apple and No. 5 on Google, above all mainstream news organizations. And the app stood at No. 66 overall on Google, excluding game apps, while on Apple it reached No. 49, above popular apps like LinkedIn, Google Docs and eBay.
The Infowars app, which includes news articles and the shows of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, had likely been downloaded a few hundred to a few thousand times a day on average after its introduction last month, said Randy Nelson, head of mobile insights at Sensor Tower, which tracks app data. Now, it is likely getting 30,000 to 40,000 downloads a day, Mr. Nelson estimated based on its ranking.
The surge suggests the tech industry’s recent action against Infowars has drawn new interest to the fringe outlet and the conspiracy theories it peddles.
“This is such a niche app with niche content, that for it to make that sort of jump means it has become very interesting to a much broader audience,” said Jonathan Kay, a co-founder of Apptopia, an app analytics firm. “Essentially, it’s gone from being niche to being mainstream.”
Still, the action by the tech companies likely reduced the overall audience for Infowars because it had relied so much on viewers from
Apple, Faceook and YouTube, a unit of Google.
That the Infowars app has also thrived on Apple’s and Google’s app stores just days after the companies removed its content from other parts of their sites highlights the confusing nature of the tech companies’ rules and their enforcement of them.
Apple banned five of the six Infowars podcasts from its popular podcasts service on Sunday, saying it “does not tolerate hate speech.” Yet the Infowars app that Apple has deemed acceptable for its app store after a review is essentially a portal to some of the same podcasts that Apple removed.
The Infowars app streams live and rebroadcasts the most recent episodes of three shows, “The Alex Jones Show,” “War Room with Owen Shroyer,” and “Real News with…
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