Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones to be banned permanently on Twitter
Twitter is to permanently ban notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars show due to abusive behaviour.
The presenter, who has become infamous for his claims the Sandy Hook massacre did not happen, will not be able to create new accounts on the social media platform or take over existing ones.
Twitter said Jones posted a video on Wednesday in contravention of the company’s policy against “abusive behaviour”.
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) 6 September 2018
It was referring to a clip of Jones shouting at and berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for 10 minutes during congressional hearings about social media on Wednesday.
The 44-year-old so-called shock jock turned up at the hearings, which were attended by numerous US media, and railed against the government, media and social media companies for more than 40 minutes in the hallway as proceedings began.
He then went on to sit in the front row of the Senate hearing, which quizzed various executives from social media giants, and repeatedly interrupted Senator Marcus Rubio during questioning, before further berating him afterwards.
Jones had about 900,000 followers on Twitter and Infowars had about 430,000 before the ban.
Twitter had previously suspended Jones for a week over his previous behaviour.
Other tech companies have also put a temporary block on Jones’ accounts, including Facebook.
But Twitter had resisted an outright ban, saying it it only prohibits behaviour that specifically harasses, threatens or uses fear to silence other users.
If individuals are not targeted (e.g. @ mention, tagged in a photo, etc.), we allow a wide range of content as long as it doesn’t cross the line into threatening violence.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) 7 August 2018
Jones describes himself as a libertarian and a conservative but his opponents have branded him far-right and America’s leading inventor of conspiracy theories.
He is currently being sued for defamation by the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, where 20 children were killed in a mass shooting.
After the tragedy, he claimed it was a hoax that had been staged by the government using actors in a bid to increase gun control.
The victims’ parents involved in the case claim they have been defamed because Jones implied they were actors and some of his followers went on to issue death threats against them.
Jones was also initially on friendly terms with Donald Trump, after interviewing him on one of his shows during the then-Republican candidate’s presidential campaign.
He has also claimed the 9/11 attacks were planned by the government, has said other mass shootings were staged and has been blamed for starting the Pizzagate fake news conspiracy.
During a hearing in which he tried to keep custody of his children, following a split from his wife, his lawyer claimed he did not believe what he said in public and it was all merely an act.