Twitter Says Alex Jones and InfoWars Will Stay Active, No Violations Yet Found
Twitter said accounts belonging to Alex Jones and his InfoWars conspiracy-theory site will remain active. A company spokesperson told Fortune, “InfoWars and associated accounts are not currently in violation of the Twitter/Periscope Rules.” Twitter also noted that content posted by InfoWars elsewhere doesn’t always wind upon Twitter. (Periscope is Twitter’s live videostreaming service.)
Twitter has faced routine criticism for years, intensifying in recent months, over how it handles accounts that post messages that contain abuse, threats, attacks based on gender and religion, and other subjects that ostensibly violate the company’s rules of service.
Some Twitter users who face ongoing abuse have criticized the service for its sometimes lackluster or indifferent response to reports. However, Twitter has said in recent months that it’s stepped up its moderation, and that it deleted 70 million accounts in May and June engaged in fake and suspicious activity, and has increasingly relied on machine learning to reduce the reach of abusive and low-quality accounts.
Yet the company is becoming increasingly isolated from its peers regarding Jones, who across his own website and other platforms has spread unfounded conspiracy theories that expose those he cites to ridicule and harm. Jones currently faces five lawsuits: three filed by relatives of the children and educators killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre and by an FBI agent who responded to the shooting; one by a man falsely identified as the shooter in the Parkland, Florida, killings; and one by a man who Jones and others called out as conspiring to overthrow Donald Trump after a video he shot in Charlottesville of the death of Heather Heyer spread widely.
On Monday, other platforms for videos, podcasts, and messages from Jones, InfoWars, and some affiliated sites and individuals dropped and banned content. Spotify had removed some podcast episodes last week, but removed Jones’s podcasts entirely today. Apple dropped its listings of five of the six InfoWars’s podcasts; the company has a directory used by its apps to retrieve new episodes and offer discovery for podcasts, but doesn’t host them. The InfoWars app in Apple’s iOS App Store remains, and allows access to videos.
Facebook deleted the four central pages for Jones and his site after limiting his actions last week, and YouTube banned him following a “strike” against his personal channel after he violated the terms and continued livestreaming from other channels. However, the InfoWars YouTube channel remains. Pinterest also removed an InfoWars board.