UPDATE: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey personally responded to the controversy surrounding Alex Jones and recent requests to have him removed from the platform.
In a series of tweets Tuesday night, Dorsey defended his company’s decision to not suspend Jones from Twitter, claiming he has not violated any of the site’s rules, NBC News reports.
"We know that's hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn't violated our rules," Dorsey tweeted. "We'll enforce if he does. And we'll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren't artificially amplified."
Dorsey added that Twitter is holding Jones to the same standards as all of its other users as opposed to “taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories.”
We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. 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.— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
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
Many more details here: https://t.co/58dc4fwjQz— jack (@jack) August 8, 2018
He also put the responsibility on journalists to hold users like Jones accountable and call out any conspiracies, rumors, or misinformation he may distribute.
Emily Horne, the former head of global policy communications for Twitter, clapped back at her former boss, rejecting the notion that communications is to blame for the fallout.
"If I still worked for you, I’d have advised you to frame this as a sign that if current Twitter policies permit verified accounts to encourage followers to harass/harm people offline, then the policies aren’t working as intended & Twitter is looking hard at the way forward," she tweeted.
.@jack, please don’t blame the current state of play on communications. These decisions aren’t easy, but they aren’t comms calls and it’s unhelpful to denigrate your colleagues whose credibility will help explain them 1/4 https://t.co/IKo5UiWiWH— Emily Horne (@emilyjhorne) August 8, 2018
Also, FWIW I think this is the wrong call. Jones’ behavior isn’t a one-off. Twitter started examining offline behavior as a factor in verification last fall. If your policy doesn’t account for Jones-like activity on/offline then the policy isn’t serving a healthy conversation 2/4— Emily Horne (@emilyjhorne) August 8, 2018
Designing scalable policy on this is incredibly hard. No company will always get it right. But this is an opportunity to take a stand and commit to making and enforcing hard choices in service of promoting healthy conversation. I hope you revisit this decision. 4/4— Emily Horne (@emilyjhorne) August 8, 2018
The underlying problem with Jones being permitted to spew his rhetoric on Twitter is that he has an official verified account, which not only helps him reach a wider audience, but also validates him as a noted public figure. His distribution of unfounded conspiracy theories is dangerous and has already led to the harassment of Sandy Hook parents, prompting them to sue Jones.
If Dorsey doesn't see content that endangers people's lives as a violation of Twitter's policies, then he is no better than Jones, himself.
After years of spewing hate and lies on his show, "Infowars," Alex Jones was finally dropped by big tech companies.
It began with Apple removing podcasts of the conspiracy-theorist from iTunes, citing hate speech violations. Later, YouTube joined in, banning The Alex Jones Channel, which had more than 2.4 million subscribers as of Aug.6. Facebook followed suit.
However, Jones can continue to tweet as Twitter stated accounts associated with him do not, currently, violate any rules, according to its statement released to various media outlets.
Jones, a far-right pundit, is notorious for unabashedly peddling objectively offensive claims such as September 11 was perpetrated by the U.S. government and that the Sandy Hook school shooting was a hoax. Parents of two children killed in the 2012 tragedy even filed a lawsuit against Jones, accusing him of slander.
Therefore, considering the kind of vitriol Jones had been spouting, that too for so many years, the tech crackdown, as sudden and massive as it may appear, was long overdue. Even YouPorn has banned Jones.
so i got an unsolicited statement just now that the adult site YouPorn is banning Alex Jones and Infowars content from its platform (what? ok.) pic.twitter.com/U4IwkGf4FO— Charlie Warzel (@cwarzel) August 6, 2018
Yet, Twitter still doesn't seem to care if the provocateur whose blatant lies reportedly endangered the lives of the parents of children murdered in the Sandy Hook shooting remains on the platform.
Twitter's hesitation is also at odds with its hate speech rules that were expanded in December 2017. The company then said the move would "reduce the amount of abusive behavior and hateful conduct" on the network.
So, how is it that Jones' often explicitly hateful tweets don't violate Twitter's policies?
However, Jones' removal, just like his presence, from the platforms isn't free from controversy. Many, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, have accused the tech giants of censorship.
Jones, himself, appears to be using the same objection to his advantage in the aftermath of the crackdown.
In a new video, Jones reached out to one of his biggest and most powerful fans, President Donald Trump, pleading for his help to get back on the social media platforms.
True to his form, Jones made his case with the help of vile conspiracy theories, claiming his removal came as a result of a ploy by "the Chinese" and globalists, according to a transcript by Media Matters.
Considering Trump's chummy relationship with Jones, there are chances the president might actually help the dangerous provocateur get back online.
Banner / Thumbnail : Reuters