Twitter CEO explains why InfoWars host Alex Jones has not been banned yet
Twitter has released a statement in response to criticism that it hasn’t banned anti-LGBT conspiracy theory publication InfoWars from its platform.
Just days ago the outlet, which has previously called for drag queens to be burned alive, was banned from Facebook for violating hate speech rules.
The Trump-supporting website is known for one its main personalities, outspoken conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is recognised for his hate-filled rants against transgender people, Muslims and immigrants.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote on the website: “We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”
Two days ago, on August 6, Facebook issued a statement announcing it had removed the InfoWars page for repeatedly breaching hate speech rules.
The social media giant said: “We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe.”
The four pages, the Alex Jones Channel Page, the Alex Jones Page, the InfoWars Page and the Infowars Nightly News Page, have been “unpublished for repeated violations of Community Standards and accumulating too many strikes.”
Facebook explained that hate speech was the motivator, adding: “While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred today’s removals were related to this.
Apple, Google and Spotify have all taken action against InfoWars over the past few weeks over concerns about its extreme content.
But Twitter CEO Dorsey reinforced the fact that his site would not be joining the ban.
“Truth is we’ve been terrible at explaining our decisions in the past. We’re fixing that. We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” he wrote.
“If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that’s constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That’s not us,” Dorsey added.
The Twitter CEO additionally called on journalists to document, validate and refute information on Jones’ account which can “sensationalize issues” and “spread substantiated rumours.” Dorsey said it’s the responsibility of the press, which is “what serves the public conversation best.”
Meanwhile on Wednesday 8 August, Alex Jones created a Periscope live stream on Twitter in reaction to Dorsey’s comments.
Jones, who was ranting about free-speech and “fake news”, said “I’m not going to be suppressed. The site may go down today, just like they did to the Nazi’s…”, and added: “You guys are using race as a controller and it’s sick and its wrong and its at the wrong side of history.”
On InfoWars in July Jones called for drag queens to be burned alive.
Addressing drag performers on his show, he said: “We’re going to destroy you. You will ascend to Hell in the reverse order.
They now know fear, because we’re coming like the villagers in the night, with the torches burning bright, with fire.”
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Jones tore into the “LGBTQ23PCL4 agenda”, claiming kids are being taught to have sex with cars, and that the promotion of sex with cars was now mandatory in the US, Canada and the UK.
Donald Trump has appeared on InfoWars in the past, while his close confidant and advisor Roger Stone makes frequent appearances on Jones’ show.
In a disturbing clip in April 2017, Stone completely ignored a vile homophobic rant from a Jones.