Twitter is facing heat for deciding not to ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platform, breaking ranks with Facebook, Apple, Google and Spotify — all of which have banned him or removed his podcasts.
The company is resisting pressure to follow suit, clarifying that Jones has not yet broken its rules.
“We welcome everyone to express themselves on our service. Sometimes these expressions may be offensive, controversial, and/or bigoted,” Twitter said in a Tuesday blog post. “We prohibit targeted behavior that harasses, threatens, or uses fear to silence others and take action when they violate our policies.”
The microblogging platform, which has been dogged by accusations that it does not do enough to protect its users from hate speech and disinformation, said that it will only take action against accounts for harassment if they specifically @-mention or tag another account or threaten violence.
Despite being banned by some tech companies and having his podcasts removed, the Infowars iPhone app became the fourth most popular news app in the App Store on Tuesday, according to screen grabs shared online.
However, Jones did threaten to “take down” U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller — calling the man in charge of investigating alleged Russian collusion with Americans a “monster” in a video posted to YouTube while mimicking a pistol with his hand.
Several users on Twitter pointed out the seeming inconsistency of Twitter’s policies.
CEO Jack Dorsey tried to clarify the company’s position in a series of tweets, saying that while Jones had not violated Twitter’s rules, the company will “continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.”
Dorsey also appeared to reference the decisions by other big tech firms in recent days to shut down Jones and Infowars.