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Sunday 16 December 2018

Twitter muzzles conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for a week

Mr Jones’ account was suspended because he incited violence, the site said.

Infowars host Alex Jones (AP)
Infowars host Alex Jones (AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Twitter is joining other prominent tech companies in muzzling Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist who has used tech services to spread false information.

Bosses at the site had been resisting the move despite public pressure, including some from its own employees.

The microblogging platform said it suspended Mr Jones’ personal account for seven days because he violated the company’s rules against inciting violence.

Mr Jones will not be able to tweet or retweet, though he will be able to browse Twitter.

This punishment is light compared with Apple, YouTube and Spotify, which permanently removed material Mr Jones had published.

Facebook, meanwhile, suspended him for 30 days and took down four of his pages, including two for his Infowars show.

Infowars still has a Twitter account.

In a video posted on Wednesday to the Infowars Twitter account, Mr Jones said the company suspended him and may shut him down completely because he violated its rules by posting a “video I shot last night saying (President Donald) Trump should do something about the censorship of the internet”.

Paul Joseph Watson, the editor-at-large for Infowars, posted a screenshot of a Twitter notice that said Jones had his account “temporarily limited” because he violated its rules against “targeted harassment of someone, or (inciting) other people to do so”.

The video is no longer available on Twitter or Periscope, where Mr Jones posted it. But it is still up elsewhere on the web. In it, Mr Jones says people “need to have their battle rifles and everything ready at their bedsides and you got to be ready because the media is so disciplined in their deception”.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had originally defended his company’s decision not to ban Mr Jones, tweeting that Mr Jones “hasn’t violated our rules” but if he does “we’ll enforce”.

“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,” Mr Dorsey tweeted on August 7, after the other companies took action against Mr Jones.

Later on Wednesday, Twitter put the Infowars account on the same seven-day timeout as Mr Jones, apparently for posting the same video.

Press Association

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