Twitter's transparency push sees infamous conspiracy theorist banned

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 7 September 2018

Twitter has permanently banned far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his website Infowars from the platform after yielding to pressure from users.

In a statement, Twitter explained that Jones had been found to be in violation of its "abusive behaviour" guidelines. Twitter was the last social media platform through which Jones coul live stream his show.

Jones and his program Infowars, which is funded by viewers and the programs online store that sells various nutraceuticals, has often been slammed for creating "fake news".

He became infamous for spreading a conspiracy theory that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax designed by the American government.

"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," the Twitter statement said.

"As we continue to increase transparency around our rules and enforcement actions, we wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case. We do not typically comment on enforcement actions we take against individual accounts, for their privacy."

However, the platform had been under pressure to remove Jones and his program after Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify removed all content by Jones and Infowars in August.

Jones and his show have been a point of controversy over the past 12 months after YouTube originally removed four videos from his page in July this year, citing its "long-standing policies against child endangerment and hate speech".

According to Twitter's rules around abusive behaviour, one "may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behaviour an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice."

In a statement on his website, Jones claimed that he was taken down, not because "he lies but because we tell the truth" and we are "popular".

The Alex Jones Channel, which had generated 2.4 million subscriptions prior to its removal was removed in August, while on Facebook, four pages that were associated with Infowars and Alex Jones were removed due to "repeated violations" of the website's policies.

Apple also removed all podcasts associated with Jones from its iTunes platform and its podcast app.

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