Technology — Verizon

Twitter permanently bans Alex Jones, InfoWars

Twitter is permanently banning conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website InfoWars from its platform, citing abusive behavior.

“Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope,” Twitter’s safety team tweeted on Thursday.

“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,” Twitter added.

The company had previously issued a seven-day suspension for Jones last month.

The company noted that it would “take action” if Jones attempted to circumvent the ban.

{mosads}Jones’s and Infowars’s accounts had a combined 1.5 million followers.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast that Jones was suspended for a Periscope video he posted in which he berates CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.

“Those are the eyes of a rat,” Jones told Darcy in the video. Jones also called the CNN reporter “the equivalent of like the Hitler Youth” and said that he smiles “like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow.”

The confrontation happened Wednesday in a Senate office building outside of the room where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testified before lawmakers on foreign election influence. Dorsey later testified that day before the House on alleged anti-conservative bias in tech.

Jones spent much of the day at the Capitol around the hallways and sitting in on parts of both hearings.

He was caught on video clashing with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), whom he called a “frat boy.” Jones at one point reached out to touch Rubio’s shoulder and was warned by the senator not to touch him again.

Jones also attempted to confront Dorsey at one point as he entered one of the hearings.

Twitter has been under fire for its handling of Jones, who has spread conspiracy theories including the claim that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax.

Liberal groups have long pushed Twitter to block Jones. But Twitter was reluctant to enforce an outright ban even as other major companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Apple banned Jones from its platforms last month, citing harassment and hate speech policy violations.

Twitter finally imposed a seven-day ban on Jones after a tweet which they said violated company policies. In the offending tweet, Jones had shared a video urging his followers to get their “battle rifles” ready to take on his adversaries.

The ban also comes as Twitter is facing pressure from conservatives over what they see as anti-conservative bias on the platform and at other social media companies.

During his testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Wednesday, Dorsey told lawmakers that there was no effort at Twitter to censor conservative voices. And he pledged to do more to ensure the algorithms Twitter uses are not inadvertently biased against conservative accounts.

The administration is also looking at the allegations of anti-conservative bias. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Wednesday that he would convene a hearing with state attorneys general on the issue.

Democrats though have dismissed those claims. They note that there is no evidence that tech and social media companies are intentionally silencing conservative voices and see it as a politically drummed up issue to rally the GOP base.

It’s rare that Twitter permanently deletes accounts but the company has done so in the past.

In July 2016, Twitter permanently removed Milo Yiannopoulos for spearheading a campaign against actress Leslie Jones. The actress was bombarded with harassing and abusive tweets from users.

In May 2015, the company removed the account of former Breitbart reporter, Charles C. Johnson, after he asked for contributions to “take out” prominent Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson.

Most recently, Twitter banned the alt-right internet provocateur known as Baked Alaska in 2017.

Updated at 5:45 p.m.

Tags Jeff Sessions Marco Rubio
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more