Twitter chief defends not booting Infowars

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SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 8, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – Twitter chief Jack Dorsey defended
Tuesday his company’s decision to allow far-right conspiracy theorist Alex
Jones to use the platform to spread his message, saying he hasn’t broken user
rules.

Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube have all banned Jones, who runs the
website Infowars.

“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,” Dorsey said in a tweet.

“We know that’s hard for many, but the reason is simple: he hasn’t
violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does.”

In a series of tweets on the subject, Dorsey said Twitter reasoned that it
was journalists’ job to shine the light of truth on unsubstantiated rumors or
sensationalized issues.

“If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than
straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of
political viewpoints, we become a service that’s constructed by our personal
views that can swing in any direction,” Dorsey tweeted.

“That’s not us.”

Jones has described Monday’s retaliation from an array of Internet giants
as a “coordinated communist-style crackdown,” but it followed months of
criticism demanding the social media services do more to combat
disinformation and hate discourse. His site Infowars has accused victims of
the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting of being “actors” in a plot to discredit
the gun lobby.

– Hoaxes and plots –

Facebook said Jones violated its hate speech policies, adding that the
pages were taken down for “glorifying violence, which violates our graphic
violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are
transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech
policies.”

Gunman Adam Lanza killed 26 people, including 20 children at the
Connecticut school.

Jones has repeatedly claimed the massacre was a hoax and that the parents
of the murdered first graders were actors, an accusation that has sparked
death threats against some of the bereaved mothers and fathers.

Among the conspiracy theories Jones has peddled are charges that the US
government was behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the September 11,
2001 strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Spotify, the streaming music online service, had already removed a number
of Jones’s podcasts last week, accusing them of breaking its own hate-speech
rules. On Monday, the Swedish company went a step further and banned his
program altogether.

Apple removed most of Jones’s podcasts for violating hate speech
guidelines.

In late July, YouTube took down videos posted by Jones and suspended him
for 90 days.

After Jones sought to skip the suspension by broadcasting live on other
YouTube channels, the online video platform said it closed down all of his
affiliated channels, which counted some 2.4 million subscribers.

Pinterest also removed the InfoWars account.

Several ultra-conservative websites showed support for Jones, publicly
backing his claim that he was a victim of a plot by Big Tech companies.