Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – Acting with a decisiveness not usually associated with social media firms, Twitter permanently banned right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show for abusive behavior. Twitter previously suspended Jones for a week starting Aug. 7.
Twitter announced the permanent ban on Jones in, of course, a tweet yesterday that said: “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.”
Twitter said the permanent ban was triggered by a video posted by Jones on Wednesday. The video shows Jones insulting CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes in between two congressional hearings on social media. The company said Jones’ rant violated its policy against “abusive behavior.”
Specifically, Jones’ video showed Jones mocking Darcy in a Capitol Hill hallway. He criticized Darcy’s reporting and appearance, and said Darcy was “smiling like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow. That’s what you look like. You look like a possum that got caught doing some really nasty stuff — in my view.”
Twitter said Jones won’t be able to create new accounts on Twitter or take over any existing ones. It said it will continue to monitor reports about other accounts that might be associated with Jones or Infowars. Twitter vowed to “take action” if it finds any attempts to circumvent the ban.
Jones had some 900,000 followers on Twitter, while his hate-mongering site Infowars had about 430,000. Jones did not immediately respond to Twitter’s action.
Jones is again active on Facebook, which suspended him for only a week in early August. Facebook hasn’t responded to media requests asking whether it would also ban Jones.
In early August, YouTube, Apple, Facebook and Spotify eliminated Jones’ hate speech accounts, especially his widely loathed fringe website, InfoWars.com. Since then, Apple, YouTube and Spotify have permanently removed material Jones had published.
During the Congressional hearing abut alleged “conservative bias” on Twitter, CEO Jack Dorsey originally defended his company’s decision not to ban Jones in August. At the time, Dorsey tweeted that Jones “hasn’t violated our rules” but if he does “we’ll enforce.”
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