When the rest of the popular social media sites, including Apple and YouTube, outright banned Alex Jones and his Infowars content from their platforms, many were surprised that Twitter did not follow suit. Now, however, the popular social media site has decided to follow suit.
Twitter permanently banned Alex Jones and his show, Infowars, from the platform, and did so a day after the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Dorsey, went before Congress to testify about allegations of bias against conservatives on the platform. That’s certainly odd timing, if nothing else, and almost seems to suggest a tit-for-tat motive in their decision to go ‘full Nazi’ and ban the ‘conspirator’ from their website.
In fact, the move suggests that the company thinks their own customers are too stupid to choose who to believe, a suggestion that even some leftist are taking offense at.
According to the social media site, they removed Alex Jones and his business from their platform for ‘abusive behavior.’
Specifically, they said that a video he posted on Wednesday violated the website’s policies.
The video showed him berating a journalist from CNN, Oliver Darcy, for about ten minutes between two Congressional hearings on social media.
Although Twitter CEO Dorsey appeared at both of these hearings, he did not appear in the video of the incident.
The social media company said that as a result of the action they took against him, the right-wing commentator and conspiracy theorist will not be able to create a new account on the page, nor will he be able to take over an existing account.
The corporate Twitter page also tweeted, saying that they would monitor the site and would take action against Jones if he managed to find some way to circumvent the ban.
When he was kicked off the social media page, he had around 900,000 followers on his personal page, and the Infowars page had about 430,000 followers.
This isn’t the first time that the company took action against him. Previously, they provided him with a one-week ban, but when the rest of the social media world was handing out long suspensions and outright bans to Mr. Jones, Twitter resisted the demands that they do so.
What did he do to earn expulsion from the social media company’s website?
Jones heckled CNN reporter Darcy while the two were in a hallway on Capitol Hill, waiting to enter the House committee room.
He mocked the reporter, and criticized his reporting. He also belittled the way that the journalist was dressed, and referenced his ‘skinny jeans,’ while saying things like “look at this guy’s eyes,” and “look at that smile.”
At one point, he likened the smiling Darcy to a possum that “crawled out of the rear end” of a dead cow, going on to say that the reporter looked like a possum that was caught doing “some really nasty stuff.”
This particular CNN reporter has long been a proponent of banning Jones from social media, and from being able to get his message and his company’s stories out via such means.
He has also aggressively questioned social media companies about why they continue to allow him to remain on their platforms.
At this point, he is once again active on Facebook. However, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube permanently removed material that he posted there, and Facebook declined to respond to inquiries asking if they would follow suit.
Twitter originally said that they would not follow suit and ban punish the commentator until he broke their rules, but a week after Jack Dorsey’s August 7 Twitter post claiming he would apply the same standard to Jones’ posts as he would to anyone else’s, they banned him for a week.
It’s an interesting step to see from a company that once declared itself to be the free speech wing of the free speech party.
Critics of the move warn that there is another side to the issue, and to high-profile cases such as the banning of this right-wing individual.
David Greene, the civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that “we should be extremely careful before rushing” to happily embrace an internet where moderation by private companies is accepted or celebrated.
Greene pointed out that this kind of content moderation, especially under questionable circumstances, gets a lot of attention from users, and it silences the voices of people who are struggling to be heard.
Many on the right suggest that conservatives and republicans on Twitter are treated more harshly than those on the political left.
As a recent example, Candace Owens took tweets by Sarah Jeong, a woman who was just hired as an editor for the New York Times, and replaced the color of the people she made insulting posts about with black, rather than white.
Indeed, social media platforms have repeatedly been accused of coming down harder on right-leaning voices than those on the left.
Many, including a number of employees at Facebook, have suggested that this stems from the politically left-leaning monoculture in most of the social media companies.
While it isn’t likely that Alex Jones will be back on these sites anytime soon, it is good to see that the public is becoming aware of the strange ‘coincidences’ that always seem to work against those who are politically right-leaning online, whether it involves shadowbanning or ‘algorithms’ that bar right-wing content from view.