After a number of tech companies—including Apple, YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, Pinterest, Linkedin, and, um, YouPorn—banded together to kick psychotic cone of gyro meat Alex Jones off of their platforms early last week, all eyes turned to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, who looked down from the pod high above Silicon Valley where he and Peter Thiel were drinking whale-blood cocktails and said, “who, me?”
A series of muddled justifications for keeping Jones and InfoWars on the social-media platform followed, in which Dorsey said that it was journalists’ job to debunk harmful lies spread on Twitter, rather than Twitter’s job to stop those lies. (Never mind that, thanks to the very nature of social media, the people most inclined to believe those lies will not see the tweets debunking them, or believe them if they do.) CNN then did its job and found several of Jones’ tweets that violated Twitter’s terms of service, only to be met with indifference from the company.
The company even acknowledged that you can spew all the toxic vitriol you like on Twitter, as long as it’s not directed at any one person in particular:
That brings us up to last night, when Twitter made what it must have felt was a brave choice by temporarily limiting some features on Alex Jones’ account. The reason? According to The New York Times it was a video, published to Jones’ Twitter account yesterday, in which he tells his followers to gather their “battle rifles” against the media and other so-called “crisis actors,” adding, “now is time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag.” So, you know, just your run of the mill “kill journalists” rhetoric, which Twitter found to be in violation of its policy against inciting violence. As a result, Jones won’t be able to tweet or retweet for seven whole days. The horror!
“But,” you might be thinking, “there’s no way this is the first time Alex Jones, Mr. Pizzagate himself, has spoken in those terms.” (It isn’t.) So what’s changed since last week? Well, for one, unrest among the Twitter staff is reportedly growing, with several current employees voicing their dissatisfaction on Twitter itself.
Then there are the consumer movements, like #DeactiDay, which encourages users to deactivate their profiles this Friday, August 17, to “show Twitter you won’t be part of a place that tolerates bigotry and abusive information, specifically from Alex Jones,” and #BlockParty500, which encourages users to mass block every Fortune 500 company on Twitter in protest of its policies. Both of these actions could be effective: Twitter’s user base has been stagnant for a while, so it can’t afford to lose a bunch of users en masse. And the company relies on ad revenue from big companies, whose sponsored tweets won’t show up if you block them.
Finally, there’s Alex Jones himself naming Dorsey alongside the likes of Tucker “bootlicker” Carlson and Laura “Heil Trump” Ingraham as his allies in the fight against George Soros and his reptile army. That’s going to be quite embarrassing for Jack when everyone keeps asking where his friend Alex is at the next orgy!:
Meanwhile, InfoWars is still up, and still posting videos of Jones talking directly to the camera—the latest of which, in which Jones takes credit for yesterday’s report by a Pennsylvania grand jury exposing the widespread sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in the state, went up three hours before this writing. Continuing to appear in videos posted on other accounts after his own was suspended is what got Alex Jones kicked off of YouTube—will Twitter follow its lead and finally, permanently ban Jones from its platform?
...yeah, we don’t think so either.