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04.11.2019 Europe

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones shares videos via French start-up, report says

By RFI
Reuters/Jim Bourg
NOV 4, 2019 EUROPE

Facing bans by major web platforms including Facebook and YouTube, American broadcaster and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones signed a deal with French company Streamroot to continue sharing videos online, according to French newspaper Le Monde.

Jones has gained notoriety through his television and radio channel InfoWars, through support of US President Donald Trump and his rants about a “deep state” working against the interests of Americans.

Among other things, he has argued that the 11 September 2001 attacks were a conspiracy, that the 2012 Sandy Hook school shootings were staged, that vaccines cause autism and that the American government is involved in a number of secret plans to exert influence over its citizens.

Since summer 2018, major social networks and online platforms including YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Spotify and Apple have gradually banned Jones from their servers, arguing his content violates their terms and conditions of use.

With no centralised database, Streamroot cuts out the "middle man"

If Jones is still able to stream video from the InfoWars website, it is via a series of contracts that began in August 2018 to use peer-to-peer technology provided by French firm Streamroot, according to Le Monde.

Streamroot's services allow videos to be shared from one user to another without relying on a costly centralised database, the paper explains.

Le Monde cites a Streamroot internal memo in which the company affirms it has boosted InfoWars' traffic and allowed it to stream videos to more than 15,000 users at once.

The paper also estimates the firm's monthly contracts with InfoWars have grown from amounts worth about 6,200 euros in August 2019 to nearly 21,000 euros in early 2019.

Streamroot's website says the firm employs more than 30 people in US and European offices and powers 20 million video sessions a day around the world. New York-based telecommunications firm CenturyLink purchased it for an unspecified amount in September 2019.

Le Monde claims not all the start-up's employees are comfortable with the company's relationship with InfoWars, and that Jones's site is referred to by a code name within the company.

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