Twitter bans Alex Jones, Infowars from tweeting for seven days

Marco Green
August 19, 2018

In the wake of the continuing controversy over Twitter's relative tolerance for professional troll Alex "Infowars" Jones-even as other platforms including Facebook and YouTube have fully banned him-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is set to appear on "NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt" tonight.

After facing protests on its platform, Twitter has temporarily banned the account of USA conspiracy theorist and radio host Alex Jones.Twitter confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday that Jones' Twitter account was "put in read-only mode".It means Jones can browse Twitter posts but cannot tweet.

Dorsey said in the Post interview that Twitter has not changed its incentives, which like most social platforms are created to push interaction and keep users engaged consistently, since it was founded.

In an interview on Wednesday with the Washington Post, Dorsey said his company is testing features that would help promote alternative points of view as a way to combat fake news and reduce "echo chambers".

Dorsey said Twitter is also exploring ways to label automated accounts, known as "bots", which are often used to inflate follower counts or to amplify harassment or false accusations on the service. "We often turn to policy to fix a lot of these issues, but I think that is only treating surface-level symptoms that we are seeing", he said.

Last week, as most of the major social networks removed at least some of Jones' content from their platforms, saying he had violated policies prohibiting hate speech, Twitter chose to let Jones carry on tweeting. The company would not comment on what the offending post said. That changed this week, when the company froze the Infowars host's personal account for seven days after he linked to a Periscope video in which he told viewers to get "battle rifles" ready against the media.

Google puts $375 million into health insurance startup Oscar, Alex Jones gets the boot from Twitter, and an app that tracks women's fertility cycles gains the approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

As of Wednesday, the tweet has disappeared from his account. Facebook, meanwhile, suspended him for 30 days and took down four of his pages, including two for Infowars. Dorsey agreed and said the company suspended Jones over incitement of violence.

"Any suspension", Dorsey tells Holt, "whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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