NEW YORK (AP) — Twitter’s permanent ban of conspiracy-monger Alex Jones on Thursday again underscored the difficulty many social-media services face in trying to consistently apply their rules against harassment and other bad behavior.
The platform took action against Jones and his Infowars show for “abusive behavior,” referencing videos posted Wednesday that showed him berating CNN journalist Oliver Darcy for some 10 minutes between two congressional hearings on social media.
Jones has behaved badly before — calling survivors of a shooting in Parkland, Florida “crisis actors” and saying the mass killing at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 was fake. Videos of the latest exchange show Jones calling Darcy “a possum that climbed out of the rear end of a dead cow,” referencing his “skinny jeans” and repeatedly saying, “just look at this guy’s eyes” and “look at that smile.”
The action follows moves by Facebook, YouTube, Apple, and Spotify to limit or remove Jones’ material from their services. But Twitter went a step further , saying it will continue to monitor reports about other accounts potentially associated with Jones or Infowars and will “take action” if it finds any attempts to circumvent the ban.
Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He had about 900,000 followers on Twitter. Infowars had about 430,000.
New Jersey Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone praised Twitter’s action in a tweet. “Glad Twitter is taking steps to put an end to the abusive behavior from Alex Jones & Infowars,” the tweet stated. “Tweets designed to threaten, belittle, demean and silence individuals have no place on this platform.”
Twitter had previously suspended Jones for a week, but until now it had resisted muzzling him further. Other tech companies have limited Jones by suspending him for longer periods and by taking down his pages and podcasts.
Critics said there was still a lack of transparency about how large platforms carry out their policies. Media Matters for America, a…
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