TTP Investigation: Apple and Google Podcasts Include Militias, QAnon
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2021
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released a report revealing that Apple and Google continue to offer nearly 20 podcasts that promote far-right militia groups and the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, despite the role these movements played in fueling the deadly U.S. Capitol riot. TTP also found that Apple TV carries a show devoted to the Oath Keepers anti-government militia.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “By giving a platform to extremist militias and conspiracies that inspired the Capitol rioters, Google and Apple appear to be culpable in the irreparable damage that occurred on January 6. Both companies must immediately recognize the reach that their platforms provide to these dangerous ideas and remove them immediately.”
In addition to various QAnon and Oath Keepers content, TTP also found podcasts on the Google and Apple podcast apps related to the Proud Boys, Three Percenters, and the “boogaloo” movement, whose supporters are preparing for a second Civil War. TTP published multiple reports in 2020 detailing how militias have used Facebook to coordinate their activities and discuss violent actions.
TTP also observed that Apple is actually promoting the militia and QAnon podcasts via the recommendation algorithm on its podcast app. It’s not clear why Apple and Google haven’t already removed this content, given the evident dangers. Apple says it strives to present podcasts in “accurate form,” and its requirements prohibit podcast content that promotes illegal activity or violence, is “objectionable” or “in poor taste,” terms that could potentially be applied to content posted by militias and QAnon adherents.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “These findings are the latest in a series of examples showing how deeply far-right and conspiracy content has penetrated the technology ecosystem. This problem is not unique to these two companies, and signals that if major platforms are unable to step up, the government will have to step in.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.