Twitter is permanently shuttering the accounts of Alex Jones and his conspiracy minded site InfoWars. The timing of the move is curious. Twitter has been much slower to go after Jones than other social media. The trigger for the ban seems to have been Jones’s mockery of CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.
As BuzzFeed reports, “The incident that inspired Twitter to action appears to have been a series of tweets containing a 9-minute Periscope video of Jones confronting CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. In the video, Jones and his camera men confront Darcy while Jones lambastes him as ‘the equivalent of like the Hitler Youth’ and accuses him of ‘smiling like a possum that crawled out of the rear end of a dead cow.’”
While Jones’s treatment of Darcy is undeniably obnoxious, it is also fairly mild by Jones’s standards. After all, InfoWars is infamous for spreading the falsehood that the Sandy Hook massacre was a false flag operation, a lie that caused Jones’s fans to harass families of the mass shooting.
As CNN noted in early August:
Content that appears to violate Twitter’s rules appears over and over again in the hundreds of hours of video available on the accounts that Jones and InfoWars maintain on Twitter and Periscope, a livestreaming video service that Twitter owns. Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals.
In banning Jones and InfoWars after they insulted of Oliver Darcy, Twitter is suggesting a curious double standard. You can apparently harass ordinary people all you want, but shouldn’t go after high-profile reporters.