After repeated violations of Twitter’s policies against abusive behaviors, the social media company finally decided to permanently ban Alex Jones, right-wing commentator and founder of Infowars, from the service.
In August, CNN published an investigation showing multiple tweets from Jones that could be considered in direct violation of Twitter’s policies against abuse. Instead of having his account suspended or banned, Jones instead was simply required to delete the tweets.
CNN said that media pressure got Alex Jones banned in the first place.
They were then given advanced notice of Jones' impending Twitter ban and were able to break the story and profit off of the controversy.
I find the whole thing entirely unethicalhttps://t.co/fY6oRi8y3u
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) September 7, 2018
However, on Thursday, Jones posted a series of tweets containing a Periscope video of him accosting CNN reporter Oliver Darcy. As reported by Buzzfeed News, in the video, Jones compares Darcy to a Nazi and makes targeted comments about his appearance.
In response, Twitter announced that the accounts for both Alex Jones and Infowars would be permanently banned. Jones will also be unable to create any additional accounts or use a previously created account. If he does so, those accounts will also be banned.
? Alex Jones and InfoWars have been permanently banned from Twitter https://t.co/rRoOQZep5p
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) September 6, 2018
Reports of widespread harassment on the social media platform have long plagued the company.
Although Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has indicated in the past a willingness to more strongly enforce the regulations against harassment and abuse on the platform, the problem is still prevalent.
For example, Fast Company writer Cale Guthrie Weissman outlined the targeted harassment both he and other writers have received in the past for essays or comments they have made, and what little was, at least at the time, done by Twitter to combat it.
Alex Jones was allowed to harass Sandy Hook parents for six years with no repercussions.
He harassed Jack Dorsey for one day and was banned from Twitter.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) September 6, 2018
BuzzFeed also published an investigation into the harassment and abuse occurring on Twitter and the subsequent, limited response from the platform.
As Jones had frequently used the site to harass others, as well as give his followers an avenue to do the same, Twitter finally made the right decision to permanently remove him from the platform.
Hopefully, this move indicates that Twitter will also begin a more thorough crackdown on other figures, both public and private, who misuse the service. It is well past time for Twitter to take abuse on their platform more seriously.