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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The last 24 hours have been brutal for Alex Jones' media empire InfoWars, banned from Facebook and YouTube — and deleted from Apple's podcast library, Spotify and Stitcher.

The big picture: Alex Jones hasn't changed. His most notorious comments, including calling Sandy Hook a hoax, are years old. The platforms have changed, with a domino effect that marks a major shift in how online harassment and censorship is handled by Silicon Valley.

  • This also marks a huge win for organized boycotts on the left, which have included Jones for years on target lists that includes Breitbart News, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck.

Why it matters: Big Tech helped Jones reach audiences of millions through social sharing and algorithms. Now it's memory-holed him.

  • The exception is Twitter, which said through a spokesman that InfoWars isn't in violation of any rules.
  • Jones has called on users to stream videos directly on InfoWars.
  • But as publishers who've suffered a Facebook algorithm shift can attest, audiences won't necessarily follow a brand off the platform.

What they're saying:

  • Drudge banner: "Apple Regulates Hate"
  • InfoWars.com: "Patriots Rally Behind InfoWars Amid Tech's Total Communist Censorship"
  • Vox.com on Facebook: "Apple’s Infowars ban altered an industry overnight — and dealt a major victory against fake news"

Go deeper: Big Tech's new push against Alex Jones and Infowars

Go deeper

Senate Democrats unveil new income tax for billionaires

Sen. Ron Wyden. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday released a billionaires' tax proposal, designed to help support President Biden's social spending and climate change legislation.

Why it matters: Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the Billionaires Income Tax would raise "hundreds of billions of dollars" and would affect approximately 700 taxpayers who have more than $1 billion in assets or incomes of over $100 million a year.

The startup that wants to disrupt big internet providers

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

A new startup backed by funding from AOL founder Steve Case and Laurene Powell Jobs wants to break up broadband monopolies across the country.

Why it matters: Internet access has been crucial during the pandemic, but it's not ubiquitous, and it can be both slow and unaffordable in swaths of the country.

3 hours ago - World

Top general: China's hypersonic missile test "very close" to a "Sputnik moment"

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Rod Lamkey-Pool/Getty Images

Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned Wednesday that China's test of a hypersonic missile is "very concerning" and "very close" to the kind of "Sputnik moment" that triggered the Space Race during the Cold War.

Why it matters: The comments by America's top uniformed general underscore the depths of U.S. concerns about China's rapid military expansion and development of advanced weaponry.

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