Twitter and its video platform Periscope are the last to join the list of social media companies purging Alex Jones and his conspiracy-mongering "news" site, Infowars, from their platforms. The move is an unexpected one considering allegations, which Twitter disputed, that CEO Jack Dorsey intervened personally to keep Jones on the platform last month.
The final straw appears to have been Jones' harassment of CNN reporter Oliver Darc, on Capitol Hill.
Twitter made the announcement on the Twitter Safety account on Thursday evening. The statement, in a series of three tweets:
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.
As we continue to increase transparency around our rules and enforcement actions, we wanted to be open about this action given the broad interest in this case. We do not typically comment on enforcement actions we take against individual accounts, for their privacy.
We will continue to evaluate reports we receive regarding other accounts potentially associated with @realalexjones or @infowars and will take action if content that violates our rules is reported or if other accounts are utilized in an attempt to circumvent their ban.
Earlier this week, Dorsey testified on Capitol Hill in front of the House Energy Committee. Lawmakers grilled him over Twitter’s policies of “shadow banning.” According to his testimony, Dorsey said “Twitter does not use political ideology to make any decisions, whether related to ranking content on our service or how we enforce our rules.” However, at this week’s hearing, Dorsey agreed to a civil rights audit and abuse transparency reports.
As the New York Times reported earlier this week, social media companies' recent decisions have clearly reduced the reach of Alex Jones and Infowars. Before the August ban — when Facebook, Apple and YouTube excluded Alex Jones’ content from their platforms — Infowars had an average of 1.4 million daily visits to its website, which included views of videos posted by its main YouTube and Facebook pages, according to the report. Nearly three weeks after the bans, the website’s visits had decreased by nearly 50 percent, to 715,000 site visits and video views. This did not factor in traffic from Twitter. A new analysis would show the influence Twitter had over Infowars.
After Thursday’s Twitter ban, Jones said in a video posted on the InfoWars website: "I was taken down, not because we lied but because we tell the truth and because we were popular. And because we dared go to that committee hearing and stand up to [Sen. Marco] Rubio and stand up to the lies of mainstream media and speak the truth."
"This is the deep state striking back and really pressuring these tech firms to censor," Jones added.