Twitter has finally taken action against Infowars creator Alex Jones, but it isn’t what you might think.
While Apple, Facebook, Google/YouTube, Spotify and many others have removed Jones and his conspiracy-peddling organization Infowars from their platforms, Twitter has remained unmoved with its claim that Jones hasn’t violated rules on its platform.
That was helped in no small way by the mysterious removal of some tweets last week, but now Jones has been found to have violated Twitter’s rules, as CNET first noted.
Twitter is punishing Jones for a tweet that violates its community standards but it isn’t locking him out forever. Instead, a spokesperson for the company confirmed that Jones’ account is in “read-only mode” for up to seven days.
That means he will still be able to use the service and look up content via his account, but he’ll be unable to engage with it. That means no tweets, likes, retweets, comments, etc. He’s also been ordered to delete the offending tweet — more on that below — in order to qualify for a fully functioning account again.
That restoration doesn’t happen immediately, though. Twitter policy states that the read-only sin bin can last for up to seven days “depending on the nature of the violation.” We’re imagining Jones got the full one-week penalty, but we’re waiting on Twitter to confirm that.
The offending tweet in question is a link to a story claiming President “Trump must take action against web censorship.” It looks like the tweet has already been deleted, but not before Twitter judged that it violates its policy on abuse:
Abuse: You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.
When you consider the things Infowars and Jones have said or written — 9/11 conspiracies, harassment of Sandy Hook victim families and more — the content in question seems fairly innocuous. Indeed, you could look at President Trump’s tweets and find seemingly more punishable content without much difficulty.
But here we are.
The weirdest part of this Twitter caning is one of the reference points that the company gave to media. These days, it is common for the company to point reporters to specific tweets that it believes encapsulate its position on an issue, or provide additional color in certain situations.
In this case, Twitter pointed us — and presumably other reporters — to this tweet from Infowars’ Paul Joseph Watson: