Far-right conspiracy theorist and Infowars network head Alex Jones continues to go viral on TikTok -- despite a supposed ban on Infowars content on the platform. Most recently, a viral video in which Jones falsely claims that there is a child-smuggling facility at the south Texas border amassed 6.1 million views, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In fact, Jones has bragged about his TikTok popularity, and he's not wrong. Infowars’ presence on TikTok remains an ongoing issue that the platform has not yet been able to control. TikTok’s shoddy enforcement has enabled Jones to reach a wider audience, even though his content is supposedly banned from the platform.
Jones is a conspiracy theorist who has been sued over his false claim that the 2012 Sandy Hook mass shooting -- which killed 26 young children and school employees -- was a hoax. Jones also helped fund the January 6 pro-Trump event that led to a violent failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
Although some Jones-related content on TikTok actually seeks to debunk his claims, much of it (and certainly many of the high-circulating examples) consists of repetitions of his inaccurate claims. This is a critical distinction because it indicates that the videos were uploaded to TikTok to expand Jones’ following, not to fact-check or correct him. Jones has mentioned the importance of reaching a younger audience in the past, and nearly a third of TikTok users are 14 or younger.
TikTok’s Infowars problem is not news to the company, which makes the regular virality of Jones’ videos even more concerning. The most recent viral video has been posted by “typical_libtard_thethird,” an account that regularly posts Infowars content.
The viral video shows Jones confronting security guards at the south Texas border and the onscreen text states, “Alex Jones visits child trafficking facility.” The video has accumulated over 6 million views thus far, and it perpetuates the faulty claim that the U.S. government is trafficking children.
Another video posted from the same account, which has amassed almost 230,000 views so far, frames Jones as saving children outside of a Catholic Charities center, but it has been thoroughly debunked. As reported by Newsweek, the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley described the video as a “staged confrontation interrupting the goodwill of someone providing assistance in the form of transportation for three mothers and their children.”
Even worse, the account that uploaded the video directs others to external websites full of Infowars videos and other extremist content. “Where is the whole video,” writes one user in the comments section. In response, the creator replies with the full URL.
Another issue is that TikTok’s recommendation algorithm continues to promote far-right extremist accounts. For instance, when users follow “typical_libtard_thethird,” TikTok prompts them to follow “alexjonesclipz.”
True to its name, “alexjonesclipz” exclusively posts clips in support of Jones. “Follow for more amazing Alex Jones Clips!” reads the account’s bio, which also links users to an external website of Infowars videos. The account has over 111,000 followers and regularly accumulates hundreds of thousands of views on individual videos.
TikTok’s ban of Jones’ content also appears to be less strict than advertised. Intentional spelling errors have been documented as a common ban-evasion tactic used on the platform to circumvent community guidelines. For example, while TikTok has blocked the search term “Alex Jones,” dropping a vowel and searching “Alx Jones” yields viral misinformation and the platform recommends “alexjonesclipz” as the first user.
One video of Jones in the search results has over 497,800 likes and was uploaded by “Robbieroundhouse4,” an account that also regularly posts Infowars videos. The account was even featured on Infowars as Jones bragged about his TikTok reach.
“The attempts to shut us down and to shut us up are not working anymore,” said Jones, with a picture of the account appearing on the screen. “So, it’s definitely epic.”
Jones’ virality on TikTok speaks to a larger problem with TikTok’s shoddy enforcement of rules prohibiting dangerous content. Not only is Jones’ content freely uploaded on TikTok, but the company’s algorithm widely circulates it to its predominantly young users.