Although Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey describes himself as “left leaning”, he is making a major effort to cater to right-wing politicians and commentators. He has consulted Sean Hannity, he met in June with Ted Cruz, Grover Norquist, and other conservatives as part of “an olive branch” to the right wing, and he promised them to look into the alleged liberal bias of the Twitter Moments feature.
Yesterday Dorsey one-upped himself. Despite Facebook, Apple, Spotify, YouTube, MailChimp and others banning right-wing conspiracy-monger Alex Jones for promoting hate speech and violence, Dorsey refused to suspend Jones or his publication Infowars, and defended this decision in a tweet that said “he hasn’t violated our rules”. (Apparently Twitter’s rules allow Jones to call Robert Mueller a pedophile and mimic shooting him.) Dorsey went on to write that it was the responsibility of journalists to police Jones’s account for accuracy and fairness.
Despite Dorsey’s decision, some Twitter users are campaigning to have Jones banished from Twitter, using the hashtag #banalexjonesnow. Emily Horne, a former communications director at Twitter, tweeted:
If I still worked for you I’d have advised you to frame this as a sign that if current Twitter policies permit verified accounts to encourage followers to harass/harm people offline, then the policies aren’t working as intended & Twitter is looking hard at the way forward
As Isaac Stanley-Becker reported in the Washington Post, Princeton historian Kevin M Kruse was more direct:
Have you considered adding a new rule against users who harass the parents of dead kindergartners so much that they have to go into hiding?
Jones, predictably, is using the controversy to ask his followers for more money.
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