Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Twitter refuses to ban Alex Jones, says a bunch of words while failing to justify it

Photo: Omar Marques/SOPA Images (Getty Images)

Confirming its status as the social media platform where propagating conspiracy theories that hound the families of school shooting victims out of their homes won’t get you banned, but pretending to be an Italian Elon Musk will, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey refused to give in to peer pressure—the coolest kind of pressure!—this week and ban Alex Jones and his show Infowars from the site. Dorsey was responding to an increasingly fast-paced movement—kicked off in full by Apple earlier in the week—to remove Jones’ vitriolic content from a number of platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Spotify.

But not Twitter, which has wrestled for years—at Dorsey’s own admission—with how to handle pretty much any situation where anybody yells at them, ever. Now, they’re trying to duck away from their refusal to remove Jones’ content—which includes Islamophobia, “dehumanizing language,” and lawsuit-launching assertions that the families of kids killed during the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012 are “crisis actors”—as a variant of that old playground favorite, “I’m not touching you, so technically I’m not breaking any rules.”


Of course, our old friend Anton has some thoughts on a set of rules or standards—often highly criticized, constantly promised for improvement, and rarely fixed—that don’t actually achieve a socially reasonable goal like, say, the removal of potentially harmful content or hate speech from a site. Anton?

Don’t worry, though; Dorsey and his team at least seem to know who they’re passing the buck on to for once: Journalists, who Twitter is apparently counting on to fact-check, counter-program, and, presumably, wish away any lies Jones and his followers might happen to spew.

Dorsey even attempted to straight-facedly spin the whole thing as some sort of heroic stand against oppression, a dedication to principles in the face of a tide of “one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term.” Somebody’s been taking his BrainForce, we guess.


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