Joy and anger as Twitter bans Alex Jones

Losing the info war: Jones’s website receives approximately 10 million monthly visits.

Did Twitter make the right decision? The site has followed Facebook and YouTube in banning the right-wing conspiracy theorist. His views may be extreme — but fear is growing over big tech censorship.

The government controls the weather as part of a global conspiracy to enslave ordinary people. The September 11 attacks were an “inside job”. The Sandy Hook school shooting was “completely faked with actors”.

This is the world according to Alex Jones.

His red-faced displays of rage led him to become one of the most infamous and outlandish figures on the American right.

On Thursday, Twitter suspended his account permanently, as well as the account of his website, Infowars. This follows a similar move made by Apple, Facebook and YouTube. Jones had 900,000 followers on Twitter.

Twitter said the ban was because of “new reports of tweets and videos posted [on Wednesday] that violate our abusive behaviour policy, in addition to the accounts’ past violations.”

President Donald Trump has accused Twitter of bias, which it has denied. However, in Congress last week, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted the company's algorithms have not always been “impartial”, and that the platform had “unfairly” reduced the visibility of 600,000 accounts.

Now many Republicans favour government intervention in big tech companies on the grounds that their policies violate the right to free speech.

Should Twitter have banned Alex Jones?

Silenced

Jones is not just controversial, say some — he is a proven liar who harasses his enemies and offends millions. Twitter is a private company. If someone breaks its rules, they should be banned. Jones is one of the world’s chief purveyors of fake news. Good riddance.

Many politicians are proven liars as well, reply others. Should they be banned too? The truth is that many of Jones’s views are in tune with those of a lot of people. These views should be debated, not banned. Twitter has banned Jones because it disagrees with him. This sets a very dangerous precedent.

You Decide

  1. Should Twitter have banned Alex Jones?

Activities

  1. Imagine you were interviewing Alex Jones. What three questions would you ask him?

Some People Say...

“There’s a war on for your mind!”

Tagline of Infowars

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
Alex Jones and the official account of his website, Infowars, have been permanently banned by Twitter. Back in August, Facebook, YouTube and Apple all banned Jones, but Twitter raised eyebrows by allowing him to continue on their site.
What do we not know?
Just how biased Twitter is, or whether Trump will follow through on his promise to intervene in big tech.

Word Watch

Sandy Hook school shooting
The incident occurred when 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six staff members at an elementary school in Connecticut.
Alex Jones
The 44-year-old was born in Dallas. He founded Infowars in 1999 and has written two books.
Algorithms
A sequence of instructions or a set of rules that are followed to complete a task.
Reduced the visibility
This is also known as “shadow-banning” — a term that Twitter says is “inaccurate”.
Many of Jones’s views
For example, support for total freedom of speech.