Alex Jones lawyer helping to make right-wing social media site even more hospitable to hate groups
In this file photo taken on September 05, 2018 right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones speaks with reporters in Washington, DC. (Jim Warson / AFP)

An attorney for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is helping to craft more permissive content moderation policies for an online video platform known for amplifying right-wing misinformation.

The online platform Rumble hired Robert Barnes, one of Jones' longtime defamation attorneys, in June to oversee changes to the site's moderation rules, and the changes he approved with the site's content producer David "Viva Frei" Freiheit would roll back bans on material that supports or incites extremist groups, reported The Daily Beast.

“The proposed moderation policies were designed by leading Rumble and Locals creators Robert Barnes and David Freiheit, both of whom are also accomplished attorneys,” read a press release announcing the changes in June. “Under the proposed policies, content creators will be able to express themselves to interested audiences within the limits of the law and without harassment while ensuring a consistent and transparent process as the platform continues its rapid growth.”

The Barnes-Freiheit proposals removes prohibitions against "content or material" the "online community" finds "grossly offensive," and rolls back bans on material that supports fringe groups like the Ku Klux Klan, which is mentioned by name.

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“[Rumble] will provide a free space for open discourse without politicized discrimination," Barnes said in the release, "[while] simultaneously protecting users from harassing behavior.”

The Canadian company has its U.S. headquarters in Sarasota, Florida -- which has become a hub for right-wing influencers -- has cut business deals with high-profile conservatives such as Donald Trump, billionaire GOP donor Peter Thiel and U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance, whose campaign issued a statement in March defending his involvement with the platform.

“Rumble has consistently supported free speech on its platform — even speech it may find offensive,” a spokesperson said at the time. "[Twitter] censors a sitting U.S. President while allowing the Chinese Communist Party, North Korea and the Ayatollah Khomeini (to name a few) to continue their propaganda.”

The platform, which reportedly boasts 44 million monthly visitors, announced that it wanted to protect users from "bad faith" actors who "engage in unlawful discrimination" and "stalking," but offers no guidance on content that promotes hate groups, who don't appear to be banned from using the site for radicalizing or recruitment.