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With provocative right-wing talk-show host Alex Jones getting his content removed from YouTube, Facebook, Spotify, and iTunes this week, Twitter was the only major social-media site that kept Jones and his InfoWars musings intact.
After CNN’s report, those 20 tweets were removed. But not by Twitter. According to the social media site, somebody who had access to Jones’ accounts (possibly Jones himself) probably deleted the content that had been highlighted.
Despite the decisions made by YouTube and Facebook, among others, to rid themselves of Jones’ controversial content, Twitter said this week that Jones hadn’t violated its policies, commenting that “When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey followed that by tweeting, “We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified. Truth is we’ve been terrible at explaining our decisions in the past. We’re fixing that. We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories.”
But CNN found that the same videos that led to InfoWars’ banishment from other social media sites also were present on Twitter.
Those videos were not the only content CNN found in its review of Jones’ and Infowars’ Twitter accounts that suggest the social media platform’s statements about its stance are incorrect, or that its rules are not being applied to Jones and Infowars.
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.
Among the tweets, CNN discovered were Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and tweets attacking Parkland shooting survivors.
InfoWars did not immediately return a Daily Dot request for comment asking who had deleted the tweets and why.
Josh Katzowitz is the Weekend Editor for the Daily Dot and covers the world of YouTube. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. He’s also a longtime sports writer, covering the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.