Commentary

Twitter Gives Promoter Of Mass Violence A 'Time Out'

A week after defending Alex Jones, Twitter is reconsidering its support of the rabid media menace.

But, rather than permanently muzzle Jones, the social giant is giving what CEO Jack Dorsey is calling a “time out.”

Translation: For the next week, Jones’ account has been placed in read-only mode, which means that he can’t tweet, like or retweet posts, or otherwise interact with Twitter users.

The decision comes a week after Infowars and Jones’ other properties were banished by the Web’s top platforms, including Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Spotify, and LinkedIn.

Yet, Twitter resisted the wave of rejection on the grounds that controversial views are essential to any healthy and representative conversation.

“Twitter is reflective of real conversations happening in the world and that sometimes includes perspectives that may be offensive, controversial, and/or bigoted,” Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter, said last week.

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But then Jones posted a video in which he implored his followers to ready their “battle rifles” in their war against the mainstream media and other “enemies.”

For Dorsey and other Twitter executives, those words crossed a line.

Still, it's Twitter’s meager response to Jones’ incendiary rhetoric that has folks talking.

During an interview with Dorsey, this week, NBC News’ Lester Holt noted: “A ‘time out’ seems, um, seems minor compared to the implications of someone suggesting a call-to-arms against a particular group -- in this case, the media.”

Dorsey’s response? “Any suspension -- whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one -- makes someone think about their actions,” Dorsey said. And, “We have found that [such measures] have the potential to change -- impact and change -- behavior.”

Whether or not the time out will encourage Jones to change his ways, Dorsey doesn’t know.

What’s important to Dorsey, he added, is that “this is consistent with how we enforce [our rules].”

Translation: Perhaps more than people’s safety, Twitter is chiefly concerned with giving off the appearance of objectivity

No doubt political, this seems like a dangerous game Dorsey is playing.

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