A day after Alex Jones shoehorned himself into media scrums around Capitol Hill hearings on social networks, Twitter has banned the conspiracy-advocate from Twitter. Both his personal account and that of his flagship site, InfoWars, have been permanently suspended from both Twitter and Periscope, the company’s video-streaming service.
The company posted a note via its Twitter Safety account that stated new reports coupled with past violations combined to merit a permanent ban from Twitter and Periscope. Jones had previously been suspended for one week starting August 14. A company spokesperson declined to comment beyond these statements, and the specific messages that contributed to the ban were not identified.
The company had previously said that Jones’s actions on its platform didn’t rise to the threshold of a ban. However, the progressive media criticism site Media Matters noted that the permanent removal came one day after Jones attempted to confront Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey following Dorsey’s testimony to Senate and House committees.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that company insiders claimed Dorsey had intervened to stop the removal of or minimize consequences for some far-right and conspiracy-minded figures, like Jones. Twitter said that was untrue, a point Dorsey emphasized in an interview Tuesday with Politico in advance of his testimony.
Twitter had faced widespread criticism largely from progressive quarters for allowing Jones to retain his microblog and video-streaming accounts with the company after Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Spotify, and several other social networks, audio and video streaming services, and other sites dropped him and his controversial site in early August.
However, many mainstream right-wing politicians and media pundits expressed outrage and disappointment following these bans, stating that Jones deserved to express his largely afactual views, and using his removal to feed into a unsupported accusation of anti-conservative bias across social media. Ted Cruz notably defended Jones by reminding his Twitter followers that Jones spread bizarre rumors about Cruz’s father, but identifying InfoWars as exhibiting “political speech.”