TAMIR KALIFA AP
Twitter is the lone tech giant not to ban Alex Jones
12 August, 2018, 15:07
"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.
While one of my legal clients (a 17 year old teen) was being interviewed by one of the most competitive colleges in the country he was asked why he was following Alex Jones on Twitter.
Jones is facing five defamation suits, as NPR's Bill Chappell and Anastasia Tsioulcas reported, a lot of them centering on comments about school shootings: "He has been accused of knowingly spreading false information about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting this year, the violence in Charlottesville, Va., last year and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012". Google has since left up Jones' podcast and his Infowars app. "Every model that we have on the network is really looking at the behaviors on the network", Dorsey said.
Like Facebook and YouTube, Twitter draws the line at content that it considers to be harmful or threatening to others, but these platforms clearly define such terms differently.
Apple was among several tech companies that cracked down on the conspiracy theorist's content in back-to-back purges on Sunday and Monday, joining Spotify, YouTube, and Facebook in removing several of Jones' pages and podcast. Twitter has recently stepped up actions against fake accounts, but the company has admitted that it has no "scalable policy or set of product features around authenticity of content". Twitter has addressed some of those issues, but the phenomenon doesn't appear to have abated. You are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile). Kruse wrote on Twitter. This marks a contrast with the approach of Facebook, which has rolled out a set of fact-checking initiatives, including the use of machine-learning tools to prevent the spread of debunked stories.
Not everyone agrees with Dorsey's decision.
"Twitter is reflective of real conversations happening in the world and that sometimes includes perspectives that may be offensive, controversial, and/or bigoted", she said. Twitter started examining offline behavior as a factor in verification last fall.
"We didn't suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday", Dorsey said in a series of tweets late Tuesday.
But Web users can still access Infowars through its website and through the same tech companies that just banned it. Google offers the Infowars app for Android users, and Apple customers can download it through the App Store. An online porn site, YouPorn, said Tuesday it had deleted six of his videos and would no longer host any content related to the prolific conspiracy theorist.