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Google Play Store removes Infowars app for spreading coronavirus misinformation

The controversial Infowars app, an outlet of infamous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, has been taken down from the Google Play Store for spreading misinformation about COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Google confirmed to WIRED that it removed the app, which had more than 100,000 downloads. The app sold various products, contained videos and articles from Jones, and offered live broadcasts of The Alex Jones Show.

The Infowars app was removed following a video that was posted to it last week, in which Jones questioned efforts in slowing the spread of the coronavirus, including social distancing and self-quarantines.

In the video, Jones talked about how “everybody dies under the new world order,” and that there exist natural antivirals that will be able to fight the new coronavirus. The Infowars app also sold products, including supplements and toothpaste, which were claimed to be cures of the coronavirus.

“Now more than ever, combating misinformation on the Play Store is a top priority for the team,” a spokesperson for Google told WIRED. “When we find apps that violate Play policy by distributing misleading or harmful information, we remove them from the store.”

The removal of the Infowars app from the Google Play Store comes about a year and a half after Apple took it down from its App Store, with the question being what took Google so long to do the same thing.

Fighting against coronavirus misinformation

Google was part of a February meeting organized by the World Health Organization and hosted by Facebook that had the goal of stopping the spread of misinformation about the new coronavirus. Other companies represented at the meeting include Amazon, Twitter, and Verizon.

Google also recently launched COVID-19 Information & Resources, a simple but useful informational website that explains the disease, its symptoms, and treatment options. The website also provides prevention tips, informational and entertainment videos, advice resources, and a map showing the confirmed COVID-19 cases per country.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google has reportedly decided to cancel its April Fools’ Day jokes this year, as executives feared that the pranks would appear in poor taste.

For the latest updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak, visit the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 page.

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