After facing severe criticism from several quarters for failing to act against notorious right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Twitter is finally falling in line with fellow tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook in banning the controversial talk-radio host from its platform. The micro-blogging site announced that it has permanently banned the accounts of Jones and his website, InfoWars, for allegedly violating the company’s policies on abusive behavior and hate speech.
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
The ban was implemented after Jones on Wednesday got into a heated debate with CNN reporter, Oliver Darcy, and live-streamed the exchange on Twitter-owned video service, Periscope. The ban will be implemented on both Twitter and Periscope, and comes after Jones’ accounts on the two platforms were repeatedly suspended (temporarily) over the past few weeks for posting incendiary messages and debunked conspiracy theories.
Believed to have been shot at the US Capitol, the video seems to show Jones heaping abuses at Darcy, as well as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who was testifying before the US Congress about a number of issues, ranging from alleged Russian interference in the country’s electoral process to accusations of liberal bias on the platform.
“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” the company said in one of its tweets explaining its action. “We wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case”.
The developments come after Dorsey defended the company’s contentious decision of not banning Jones’ account, citing non-violation of Twitter’s terms of services. According to Dorsey, Jones and Infowars were not banished from Twitter earlier because they didn’t violate the site’s rules, although, many critics and civil rights activists claimed otherwise.