Twitter CEO defends decision not to ban Alex Jones, Infowars

Alex Jones and the rise of corporate censorship

Free Speech Alex Jones and the rise of corporate censorship

In December 2015, we added a separate "Abusive Behavior" section to the Twitter Rules. On Tuesday, MailChimp and Disqus joined in, leaving Twitter as one of the last companies to provide a platform for Jones and his website. It was a thinly veiled dig at Facebook and YouTube, which only took action against Jones after Apple chose to scrub his podcasts from iTunes for hate speech.

In November 2016, we shared more details around hateful conduct and how we enforce policy violations.

"Truth is we've been awful at explaining our decisions in the past", Dorsey added.

A number of platforms have reached a different conclusion, as the crackdown on Jones intensified this week. Podcasts like "The Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" have been pulled from all of Apple's directories, but the company has left up the less popular InfoWars podcast "Real News With David Knight". "We're fixing that", Dorsey said. Dorsey suggested that although "accounts like Jones' can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors", it is the responsibility of journalists to validate his claims "so people can form their own opinions". "This is what serves the public conversation best", Dorsey said.

As BuzzFeed's Charlie Warzel pointed out, Jones does use Twitter differently from the way he uses other social-media sites, posting less inflammatory content. More recently, the company stepped up its fight against the fake accounts on its platform. His claims include that the 9/11 terror attacks were actually carried out by the government and that the 2012 Sandy Hook mass school shooting, which left 20 children and six adults dead, was a hoax.

"Have you considered adding a new rule against users who harass the parents of dead kindergartners so much that they have to go into hiding?" He also encouraged journalists to "refute" false information.

A message Tuesday afternoon from Twitter Safety stated that "tweets from Alex Jones and InfoWars are not now in violation of our Rules".

Dorsey's decision has not gone down well with some, however, with Reddit's former CEO suggesting it could lead to Twitter's demise.

Tuesday, Dorsey said neither Jones nor his InfoWars account will be removed.

The company is resisting pressure to follow suit, clarifying that Jones has not yet broken its rules.

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