Facebook says it has taken down four pages belonging to rightwing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for violating its hate speech and bullying policies. The Infowars YouTube channel was also terminated. (Aug. 6)
SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Jones can keep tweeting, for now.
While most major social media sites removed Jones from their platforms Monday, his Twitter accounts remain live. Jones and his associated accounts aren’t currently in violation of Twitter’s rules, Twitter said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Facebook, YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Spotify removed Jones’ shows or pages from their platforms, citing breaches of policies against hate speech or graphic content — but not the conspiracy theories for which he’s known.
Jones, a far-right pundit and provocateur, has been criticized for promoting widely debunked theories. Among other things, he said the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders were staged, and he said survivors of the Parkland, Florida high school shooting were actors.
He has a large following on social media, including 836,000 followers on Twitter. And he’s been praised by President Donald Trump, who appeared on InfoWars during the 2016 presidential campaign.
YouTube, Jones’ most profitable social media channel, removed his content for violating community standards. The company sent this statement to USA TODAY: “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”
Jones hasn’t violated any such rules at Twitter, and the site’s “open and real-time nature is a powerful antidote to the spreading of all types of false or misleading information,” the Twitter statement said.
Ellen K. Pao, a tech investor, diversity and inclusion activist and former CEO of Reddit, tweeted Sunday that Twitter should follow Apple’s example in banning Jones. “Apple has always had more stringent content policies than other tech companies (trying to get the reddit app approved for the App Store meant major contortions and finger crossing), and it’s worked so far for them,” she wrote.
Pao later mentioned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey directly. Jones “still has a blue check on @Twitter. Your move, @jack. Be a leader with integrity like @tim_cook.”
Jones is calling the purge of his online accounts a conspiracy to censor conservative content.
“YouTube has officially terminated The Alex Jones Channel from their video platform as part of their political purge of the internet in preparation for the midterms and the 2020 presidential election,” he tweeted.
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