Twitter is not banning Alex Jones; Jack Dorsey explains why
Alex Jones and Infowars are being banned, suspended and removed from the internet left, right and center. But while YouTube, Facebook, Apple and others have come down hard on the right-wing conspiracy theorist for peddling hate speech, Twitter is standing by him.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has defended his company's decision not to follow the lead of its Silicon Valley counterparts, saying that Alex Jones "hasn't violated our rules". In a series of tweets, Dorsey explains that Twitter enforces its rules "impartially, regardless of political viewpoints".
- Apple kicks Alex Jones and Infowars podcasts from iTunes
- Infowars' Alex Jones is banned from Facebook for a month
- YouTube slaps Alex Jones with another strike and removes Infowars founder's videos
- Spotify removes numerous Alex Jones podcasts, deeming them 'hate content'
He points out, however, that Alex Jones is not being given a free ride. He may have escaped a ban for not violating Twitter's policies, but Dorsey says: "we'll enforce if he does". In a side swipe at the suggestion that many of the bans that have been slapped on Jones and Infowars in recent days have been kneejerk reactions, he adds: "we'll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren't artificially amplified".
He goes on to defend Twitter's current lack of action against Jones:
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.
— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
Dorsey says that Jones' sensationalist and often factually inaccurate reports are actually beneficial to "the public conversation":
Accounts like Jones' can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors, so it’s critical journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions. This is what serves the public conversation best.
— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
With a series of bans and content removal by major technology firms, Jones has complained that there is a coordinated "big tech" agenda to silence him. In reality, he is simply being asked to comply with the same rules that other users of the same services have to comply with -- he is just perhaps "unfortunate" to be a relatively high profile character who is able to make a lot of noise when banned by one service, thereby drawing attention to himself and forcing other companies to consider whether he violates their standards too.
Interestingly, the Infowars' terms of service includes very much the same policies that Jones and Infowars have fallen foul of elsewhere, and users of the site are expected to adhere to them:
(From Alex Jones Infowars terms of service.) pic.twitter.com/vSOov82fP1
— Kerri Farrell Foley (@KerriFFWriter) August 6, 2018
Image credit: InFootage / Shutterstock