×

Infowars Tweets Are Deleted After CNN Cites Examples of Twitter Policy Violations

Infowars apparently scrambled Thursday to avoid getting kicked off Twitter — the only big digital platform that hasn’t yet booted the hate-mongering media outfit — by deleting old posts that violated the social-media company’s terms of service.

Twitter chief Jack Dorsey defended the company’s decision on Tuesday to not suspend Infowars and its founder, Alex Jones, from the platform after YouTube, Facebook, Apple, Spotify and others took action to delete or block the far-right conspiracy theory site’s accounts or content. Dorsey, in a series of tweets, claimed Infowars had not violated Twitter’s policies.

However, in a report Thursday, CNN cited about 20 past tweets from the accounts of Infowars and Jones that, by all appearances, did indeed contravene Twitter’s prohibitions against hateful conduct and harassment.

After CNN’s report was published, all 20 of the Infowars tweets were deleted. Twitter said that it did not remove the posts.

The now-deleted tweets by Infowars and Jones that were cited in the report included posts attacking transgender and Muslim people; claims that the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a hoax perpetrated by “crisis actors”; and a video that called David Hogg, a survivor of the Parkland, Fla., high-school shooting, a Nazi.

It’s possible that after the CNN report, Twitter notified Infowars that the tweets violated its policies and that the company would disable the accounts unless the tweets were removed. It’s puzzling, however, that with Infowars and Jones in the national spotlight, Twitter had not already done this.

Twitter VP of trust and safety Del Harvey acknowledged in an internal memo (which she posted on Wednesday) that Jones in the past has posted material that would violate Twitter’s anti-harassment policies, citing the Sandy Hook conspiracy theories, but she claimed at the time those tweets weren’t explicitly banned. “If he were to post similar accusations today, we would take action on them,” Harvey wrote. “If people report past content of his that includes those types of accusations, we would require him to remove it but would not further penalize him as we work to avoid retroactive applications of our policy.”

Infowars has become the test case of how Silicon Valley giants deal with the issue of whether to block or allow misinformation and inflammatory content that targets specific groups.

While Infowars and its sympathizers have claimed censorship following the actions of YouTube, Facebook, Apple and others, all internet-content platforms specifically reserve the right to suspend users or delete content found to be in violation of their guidelines. (In fact, the terms of service for Infowars.com itself includes such a provision.) It’s also worth noting that the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment applies to government regulation of speech — not to private-sector companies — and even then, it does not protect defamatory speech or incitements to violence.

Meanwhile, Apple and Google have not removed the Infowars Official app, which provides live-streaming access to its programming, from their respective app stores. Following the purge of Infowars by big tech companies earlier this week, the Infowars app has been trending: Currently, it’s ranked No. 3 in the “News” category of Apple’s App Store, behind Twitter and News Break and ahead of apps for news organizations including CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, and BuzzFeed.

More Digital

  • La Linea Invisible

    Mariano Barroso Shoots Basque Conflict Origins Story ‘La Linea Invisible’

    IRUN, Spain  — When- and why – do people begin to kill for a cause? Having created “What the Future Holds,” maybe the best reviewed to date of any Movistar + Original Series, Spain’s Mariano Barroso (“The Wolves of Washington”) tackles this question head on in “La Línea Invisible,” a six-part series, again from Movistar [...]

  • The Lion King

    ‘The Lion King’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Walt Disney Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “The Lion King.” Ads placed for the remake had an estimated media value of $5.64 million through Sunday for 1,290 national ad airings on [...]

  • Apple Plans to Fund Podcast Exclusives:

    Apple Reportedly Plans to Fund Original Podcasts

    Apple has plans to open its checkbooks for podcasts that would be exclusive to its podcasting apps, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. The investments would help the company defend its market leadership in an increasingly crowded field, and fend off competitors like Spotify, Pandora and Luminary. News of the plans sent Spotify’s stock down more than 3%; [...]

  • LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet

    LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet Dermot McCormack President

    Live entertainment digital media company LiveXLive Media today announced that AOL and MTV veteran Dermot McCormack has been named president of the company. According to the announcement, McCormack will lead the business and creative operations of LiveXLive, effective immediately. McCormack previously served as AOL’s Global President of Video and Studios, where he oversaw the video [...]

  • Recording Studio

    Cloud-Based Music Mastering Platform Landr Raises $26 Million

    Cloud-based music mastering and distribution platform Landr has raised a $26 million Series B round of funding. The new founding round was led by the Sony Innovation Fund, microphone manufacturer Shure, state-owned financing corporation Investissement Québec and Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Warner Music, Plus Eight Equity Partners, Slaight Communications, YUL Ventures and PEAK Capital Partners [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content