Twitter CEO explains decision not to delete Alex Jones's account

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The CEO of social media platform Twitter has explained why the site has not banned infowars founder Alex Jones.

On Monday Facebook, YouTube, iTunes and Spotify all banned the so-called conspiracy theorist from their platforms, putting pressure on Twitter to do the same.

Apple removed all episodes of Infowars' podcast series from iTunes on the grounds they violated its rules on hate speech, with Spotify removing The Alex Jones Show from its newly formed podcast section.

Youtube banned Jones by saying his main channel had been terminated for “violating YouTube’s community guidelines.” Facebook also removed pages operated by Jones.

CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey took to his account to post the reason why the platform hadn’t followed suit, explaining that Jones “hasn’t violated our rules” but will “enforce” if he does.

“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday,” he said on Twitter.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.”

Censorship

 

 

Talking to Penny Smith on talkRADIO, Spiked Online editor Brendan O’Neill warned against censorship as it would send people with "shocking ideas" underground.

“I oppose every single form of censorship; I think censorship is never a good idea, in relation to Alex Jones that it is going to back-fire terribly.

“Firstly because it will only prove to Alex Jones and his followers that their conspiracy theories are right – these people who are convinced in a very strange, slightly crazy way, that there is this global conspiracy against truth tellers like them - so actually their conspiracy theory is going to be lent some legitimacy by this action.

“I think his theory about Sandy Hook is insane, and offensive, and has caused massive upset to the parents who have lost their children and to many other people as well.

“But you can’t deal with offensive ideas, shocking ideas - or even racist and prejudice ideas - through censorship because all that does is force that kind of thing underground where it often gets worse because it’s far away from rational voices and rational discussion, and it means we can’t see these crazy ideas; we can’t challenge them and we can’t mock them.”