While there have been many angry voices looming out of the woodwork in recent years – partly thanks to the ease of use of the internet – it remains to be said that Alex Jones and his show and website, InfoWars, remained among some of the most divisive and controversial. Jones, who had come under public fire for claiming that the shootings at Sandy Hook were fabricated – amongst other opinions he has shared – has also found himself blacklisted from various online platforms and services over the past few months, with only Twitter – so it seemed – holding out as his last bastion. Jones has been covered in the press largely as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ – and this article would be a fair bit longer if we covered many more of the controversial ideas his platform has put forward over the years.
Twitter, however, has finally had enough of Jones, having summarily banned him from the microblogging platform following concerns over allegations that he had been sending abusive messages and communications. “Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope,” the network confirmed. “We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behaviour policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.” Therefore – while some claims have been made that bans against Jones and InfoWars have threatened his right to free speech, Twitter have taken direct action with regard to what they have perceived to be abusive communications.
Many other big names online have mostly silenced Jones, ranging from Facebook to YouTube and Apple – but Twitter had largely stood alone in their decision to continue allowing the commentator to continue speaking online. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that Jones had not previously breached their terms and conditions – that, however, appears to have changed. Speaking previously, Dorsey had claimed that he would not bow to political pressure. “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, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” he tweeted.
The New York Times estimates that Jones’ potential audience reach has now been greatly restricted, not only cutting off his rhetoric, but also potentially affecting any sponsorship contracts he may have had in place. For now, at least, it seems he will be speaking to those who visit him directly at his website.