Alex Jones is banned from Twitter after harrassing a CNN reporter on a livestream, a final straw for the platform that has grown weary of the conspiracist's penchant for testing the boundaries of unfettered speech on social media.
On Thursday, Twitter said Jones and two accounts tied to him were removed, and he would no longer be allowed to share messages and videos on the platform. Jones had only recently came back from a seven-day suspension on Twitter, which was handed down after intense pressure from critics who blamed the company for permitting a culture of incivility by giving Jones' a forum.
Today, we permanently suspended @realalexjones and @infowars from Twitter and Periscope. We took this action based on new reports of Tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behavior policy, in addition to the accounts' past violations. https://t.co/gckzUAV8GL— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 6, 2018
Twitter was the last of the major platforms, following YouTube, Facebook and Apple, to penalize Jones and his InfoWars videos and podcasts. Jones' shows are notorious for conspiracy theories that include claiming mass shootings are hoaxes and the victims actors. He has gone on tirades against transgender people, and used deragatory language in reference to former First Lady Michelle Obama.
Just this week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was on Capitol Hill testifying about how social media companies protect their platforms from bad actors like those that distributed deliberately misleading and inflammatory information during the 2016 election. Dorsey was joined by Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg. Jones himself was in attendance seated in the public area.
After the hearing, Jones harassed CNN reporter Oliver Darcy, and livestreamed the volatile encounter. The video was streamed to Persicope, also owned by Twitter.
Social platforms are under increasing pressure to clamp down on accounts that harass people and deliberately spread untruths. Marketers and advertisers have been more focused on holding social media services accountable for the content on their platforms, concerned when their ads run near offensive messages.
In late July, YouTube suspended Jones for videos that it said violated policies about hate speech and other infractions. Facebook soon followed by removing videos that violated its policies. Then in August, YouTube banned Jones outright and Facebook removed his most popular pages.
Jones is technically still on Facebook, under a new page that had to start from scratch and has far less visibility than his old pages, with fewer viewers and followers.
Jones' personal Twitter page, now gone, had 900,000 followers. And the InfoWars Twitter account had 400,000 followers.
Other accounts associated with InfoWars, like PrisonPlanetTV, have shared the video of Jones confronting CNN's Darcy, and Twitter is removing the videos but not banning those accounts, according to a person familiar with Twitter's policies.