Twitter Permanently Bans Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones And Infowars, Citing Abusive Behavior
Twitter announced Thursday that it would permanently ban right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his show Infowars due to abusive behavior.
The social media platform’s CEO Jack Dorsey testified before lawmakers on Thursday regarding alleged bias against conservative voices on Twitter. Many prominent Republicans including President Donald Trump have accused social media and other tech companies like Google of silencing conservative Americans in favor of liberals.
Twitter said Jones and Infowars would also be banned from video streaming app Periscope, which Twitter owns, and said many of the pair’s videos and tweets violated their abusive behavior policy.
Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope. We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations. https://t.co/gckzUAV8GL
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 6, 2018
Many other online platforms or streaming services like Apple Itunes, YouTube and Spotify had already permanently removed Jones’ videos and podcasts. Twitter had initially just suspended the conspiracy theorist for one week. After receiving backlash for not following these companies’ lead in banning Jones permanently, Dorsey defended Twitter’s decision by claiming the Infowars host hadn’t violated any rules.
Jones is known for pushing fake claims, like the theory that the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut was staged with “actors.” Several of the parents whose children died in the massacre filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones, and last week a Texas judge ruled against the conspiracy theorist in the case.
Jones reportedly had approximately 900,000 followers on Twitter, while Infowars boasted 430,000. A video also surfaced of Jones verbally abusing a CNN reporter named Oliver Darcy in between congressional hearings about social media use. Jones mocked Darcy’s appearance and reporting.
Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey was among several people who applauded Twitter’s decision to ban Jones and Infowars:
Glad Twitter is taking steps to put an end to the abusive behavior from Alex Jones & Infowars. Tweets designed to threaten, belittle, demean and silence individuals have no place on this platform. https://t.co/OZxGF8XrR1
— Rep. Frank Pallone (@FrankPallone) September 6, 2018
Jones also heckled Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio this week in between congressional hearings.