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Twitter CEO Expands on Why He Won’t Ban Alex Jones, InfoWars

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term,” Dorsey wrote

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Twitter, tweets, social media
Twitter allows publishers to monetise video views globally. (VOA)

After several social media outlets banned alt-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his show InfoWars earlier this week, Twitter announced it would be keeping Jones, sparking backlash from users.

“We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrote. Jones, who has become notorious for hosting The Alex Jones Show on InfoWars, has more than 860,000 followers on Twitter.

On Monday, sites such as YouTube and Facebook banned Jones and his pages from their platforms, claiming that Jones’s videos violated the sites’ hate speech guidelines.

Jones has repeatedly used language incendiary towards Muslim and transgender people, and in July he appeared to threaten to shoot U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating President Trump and his White House on possible ties to Russia.

“[Mueller is] a demon I will take down, or I’ll die trying,” Jones said on a July broadcast, miming a gun-firing motion with his hands. “You’re going to get it, or I’m going to die trying, bitch.”

In the past, Jones has baselessly alleged the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting in Connecticut were hoaxes perpetrated by the U.S. government.

Alex Jones
Alex Jones (C), an American conspiracy theorist and radio show host, is escorted out of a crowd of protesters after he said he was attacked in Public Square on July 19, 2016, in Cleveland, during the second day of the Republican convention. (VOA)

Several parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting are suing Jones for defamation. In a court document, the parents of one of the slain children claimed Jones broadcast his personal information on his show. At the time of its removal, Jones’s YouTube channel had more than 2.4 million subscribers, with 1.5 billion views across all of its videos.

Twitter’s hateful conduct guidelines bar “wishes for the physical harm, death, or disease of individuals or groups” as well as “behavior that incites fear about a protected group.”

“We do not tolerate behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice,” the site’s guidelines say.

While Dorsey acknowledged in a Tweet that accounts such as InfoWars can “sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors,” he also wrote that it “serves the public conversation best” for “journalists document, validate, and refute such information directly.”

Several journalists pushed back against Dorsey’s request.

“I am not getting paid to clean up your website for you,” wrote Matt Pearce, a journalist for The Los Angeles Times, in a response to Dorsey’s Tweet.

Milo Yiannopoulos
Milo Yiannopoulos speaks to a group protesting against CUNY’s decision to allow Linda Sarsour, a liberal Palestinian-American political activist, to speak at commencement in New York, May 25, 2017. (VOA)

Twitter has banned significant alt-right personalities in the past.

In 2016, alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, who has ties to white nationalist groups, was permanently banned from the site after instigating racist and sexist harassment against American actress Leslie Jones, who is black.

Also Read: Twitter May Block Account for Abusive Chats During Live Broadcasts

And in 2017, Twitter suspended the account of James Allsup, a white nationalist who spoke at the “Unite The Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier that year.

“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term,” Dorsey wrote Tuesday. (VOA)

Next Story

Twitterati Can Soon Clarify Tweets: CEO Jack Dorsey

Back in 2018, while visiting India for Twitter’s pre-election campaign, Dorsey was quizzed why Twitter does not have an edit button

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

While Twitterati are waiting for an “edit” feature, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said the micro-blogging platform is considering a “clarify” feature for its over 330 million users.

At a Goldman Sachs event in San Francisco on Thursday, Dorsey said he is considering a “clarify” feature that would allow users to add additional context to a tweet without changing the original content, 9to5Mac.com reported.

“One of the concepts we’re thinking about is clarifications… Kind of like retweet with comment… to add some context and some colour on what they might have tweeted, or what they might have meant,” Dorsey told the audience.

“By doing so you might imagine that the original tweet then would not have the sort of engagement around it. Like you wouldn’t be able to retweet the original tweet, for instance,” he added.

Earlier this month, Dorsey said Twitter is considering the possibility of adding support for editing tweets, but the original version of the tweet would still be viewable.

Twitter, tweets, India
The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

“Maybe we can introduce a 5-30 seconds delay in the sending of a tweet and within that window, you can edit because the issue with going longer than that is it takes that real-time nature of the conversational flow out of it,” 9To5Mac quoted Dorsey as saying in a podcast interview.

Dorsey first addressed the possibility of adding an edit feature for tweets in December 2016, based on the Twitteratis’ suggestions.

Also Read- Immersive VR Can Help Kids Overcome Autism Phobias

Back in 2018, while visiting India for Twitter’s pre-election campaign, Dorsey was quizzed why Twitter does not have an edit button.

To which, he said, “the reason Twitter does not have an ‘edit’ button is because people may change their opinions by editing the original tweet and then people who don’t agree with the original view, may have already retweeted the tweet, which is not an accurate representation of what they believe.” (IANS)