Twitter says it has blocked conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week and may shut him down completely because he violated its rules against "targeted harassment of someone, or (inciting) other people to do so," according to media reports. Prior to this, Twitter had not joined other tech giants such as Facebook and MailChimp in banning Jones.
In addition, reports say Jones’ InfoWar website has been shut down. He wrote: “Infowars.com has been taken down! Communist China and the democrats are making their move against American!”
However, the site was up on Wednesday afternoon, and it features an account of the Twitter stoppage.
“Infowars Editor Paul Joseph Watson tweeted a screenshot of the notification sent by Twitter staff to Jones,” the story states. “According to Twitter, a tweet by Jones one day earlier was considered to be “targeted harassment,” and, as a result, the Infowars host would have his access to the social-media platform restricted for one week. Watson described the situation as “truly, monumentally, beyond stupid.”
Last week, Jones was booted off several online platforms, including Facebook and Google. He also was dropped by his email service provider MailChimp for violating its terms of service. The company said it will not “allow people to use our platform to disseminate hateful content.”
Twitter, however, had not joined these firms in terminating Jones.
“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or InfoWars yesterday,” wrote Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules.”
Some observers think that these cancellations may step on the First Amendment. However, others say private firms are free to do what they want, and have a responsibility to prevent hate speech.