False US trials highlight misinformation benefiting on the Internet

False US trials highlight misinformation benefiting on the Internet

Jones, the serial agitator who founded the far-right website InfoWars, has been ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages for the mass school shooting — a “hoax”.

US radio host Alex Jones has racked up millions from conspiracy-laden lies that have helped drive sales of products like libido enhancers, exploiting an internet ecosystem that experts say makes misinformation a profitable business.

Jones, a serial provocateur World Health Organization He founded the far-right website InfoWars, and was ordered to pay nearly $1.5 billion in damages for the 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school — which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead — a “hoax.”

The defamation cases in Texas and Connecticut v. Jones highlighted the challenge of curbing misinformation on social media Internetwhere false and seditious content often spreads faster, generates more engagement — and more revenue — than the truth.

“The modern internet business model consists of building an audience and then monetizing that audience, either through advertising, merchandise sales or a direct donation,” Danny Rogers, co-founder of the nonprofit Global Misinformation Index, told AFP.

Alex Jones perfected the model by promoting the most hostile narratives in the form of virulent conspiracy theories and unbridled rage, building a receptive audience, and then dumping that audience for profit.

Jones, who returned to the spotlight this week when rapper Kanye West declared his admiration for Adolf Hitler on his show, has made what experts call a fortune by successfully combining conspiracy theories with merchandise and supplements from his InfoWars store.

Jones has been promoting male vitality supplements and testosterone boosters, while alleging that the government is feminizing men using chemical pollutants.

He accused the government of deliberately putting fluoride in the drink WaterWhile his shop sold fluoride-free toothpaste.

He claimed that his audience could survive various doomsday scenarios with the other products his shop could provide—storeable food, body armor and even homemade gun components. Bankruptcy The size of his fortune is unclear, but a forensic economist testified during the Texas trial that the net worth of Jones and Free Speech Systems — Infowars’ parent company — likely dropped between $135 million and $270 million.

But while criticizing the trials as an assault on free speech, Jones said he had little to do money to pay compensation and he has repeatedly appealed to his fans for a donation.

While he was grappling with defamation cases, Anonymous bitcoin Donor sent Jones Cryptocurrency It’s worth $8 million, the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center reported in May.

This week, Jones declared personal bankruptcy in his home state of Texas, saying his liabilities exceeded his assets, which ranged from $1 million to $10 million.

InfoWars declared bankruptcy in April, and Free Speech Systems filed for bankruptcy in July.

Last month , Washington The Post reported that Jones has transferred millions of dollars from Free Speech Systems to companies controlled by him or members of his family, citing financial records.

Families of victims in the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hooks Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, alleged that Jones was trying to hide his wealth to avoid paying compensation.

A Connecticut jury awarded $965 million in October to the relatives of eight of the Sandy Hook victims and FBI agent. The judge later awarded an additional $473 million in punitive damages.

In a separate trial, a Texas jury ordered Jones to pay nearly $50 million in damages to the couple whose six-year-old son was killed in the shooting.

Free Speech Systems and Jones did not respond to a request for comment. – ‘Clicks and money’ – Families of school shooting victims said they had been harassed and threatened for years by Jones fans, with strangers showing up in their homes to confront them and hurl abuse online. Some even reported receiving rape and death threats.

“Their children were killed—I saw it firsthand,” FBI agent Bill Aldenberg said in emotionally charged testimony during the Connecticut trial in September.

“And these people (Jones and his company) have made millions and millions. They ruined everyone and they don’t care.”

InfoWars sales data presented during the Connecticut trial showed revenue skyrocketing after Jones spread a new lie about the school shooting.

On Sept. 25, 2014, when he falsely claimed that an FBI report showed that “no one died in 2012 at Sandy Hook,” his site’s daily revenue jumped to more than $230,000, according to data published by the Huffington Post.

The day before, before he promoted that claim, the site had made just $48,000.

That, experts say, is the financial incentive for content creators to push out conspiracy material that has the potential to go viral.

“The fundamental problem is bigger than Jones and it’s really the business model itself and its toxic externalities,” Rogers said.

“This creates a whole Alex Jones world that polarizes global discourse, sowing fear and anger for clicks and money. Until this changes, we will simply move from one Alex Jones to the next and very little will change.”

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