Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones, Infowars citing abuse

Rosalie Gross
September 7, 2018

Right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones became a sideshow outside two congressional hearings Wednesday, insulting Florida Sen. A second House hearing focused on Republican assertions that Twitter is censoring conservatives - a charge Jones has championed and the company has denied.

Last month, Twitter gave Jones a small punishment for his inflammatory behavior on the platform-a one-week suspension that prevented Jones from tweeting or retweeting from his personal account. 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' previous violations.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, a Twitter spokesperson attributed the ban on to a heated confrontation with CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, which was broadcast on Periscope. He'll also be banned from personally registering or operating any other Twitter accounts in the future.

Jones repeatedly interrupted Rubio as the senator answered questions from reporters. At the time, CEO Jack Dorsey said that Jones hadn't violated Twitter's policies but that the company would continue to monitor him and take action if he did so. Jones and his followers have been harassing users for years; namely the parents of the Sandy Hook victims and others who have spoken out against gun violence.

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Darcy's reporting had previously raised questions about tech companies' rules and statements about their battles against misinformation, and whether those were consistent with their allowing Jones and InfoWars to use their platforms.

Jones shouted at Darcy for more than ten minutes, accusing him of being in favour of censorship and insulting his appearance, comparing him to "a rat" and told Darcy he was "evil-looking".

Other tech companies have limited Jones by suspending him for longer periods, as Facebook did, and by taking down his pages and radio stations. I still find the man's actions and dedication to making sure that Twitter is a "public square" where anyone can speak to be a bit shortsighted, as too often those defending themselves from harassment get banned while their harassers go free.

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