Twitter's Jack Dorsey Explains Decision Not to Ban Alex Jones: "He Hasn't Violated Our Policies"

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Jack Dorsey

"Accounts like Jones' can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors," Dorsey acknowledged, adding that "it's critical journalists document, validate, and refute such information."

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is responding to complaints over the social network's decision not to ban far-right commentator Alex Jones from its platform following such moves by Apple, Spotify, Facebook and YouTube. 

The reason, per Dorsey, is that Jones, who has 853,000 Twitter followers, hasn't violated Twitter's rules. "Truth is, we've been terrible at explaining our decisions in the past," the exec tweeted to his 4 million followers on the platform he co-founded. "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." 

On Sunday night, Apple removed all but one podcast produced by Jones and his media brand InfoWars, citing "hate speech." The decision came after pressure from online communities angry that tech platforms had not done much to curb Jones' accounts for propagating misinformation and conspiracy theories. 

Following Apple's move, Facebook, YouTube and Spotify — which had all taken more measured action against Jones and InfoWars previously — all cracked down on accounts associated with Jones on their platforms. Of the major technology companies, only Twitter did not follow suit. A spokesman confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday that the accounts had not been taken down because they did not violate Twitter's rules. 

In his Twitter thread on Tuesday evening, Dorsey argued, "If we succumb and simply react to outside pressure, rather than straightforward principles we enforce (and evolve) impartially regardless of political viewpoints, we become a service that's constructed by our personal views that can swing in any direction. That's not us." 

He also linked to a blog post, written by Twitter vp trust and safety Del Harvey, that further explained executives' thinking about the role that Twitter plays in public discourse. "Twitter is reflective of real conversations happening in the world and that sometimes includes perspectives that may be offensive, controversial, and/or bigoted," Harvey wrote, adding that the platform has rules in place to "help ensure everyone feels safe expressing their beliefs." 

Twitter has come under fire over the years for not doing enough to curb hateful and threatening comments on its platform. The company has tried to address some of that discourse by updating its rules. For example, it recently added unwanted sexual advances threats to expose or hack someone to its list of prohibited behaviors. 

The company has recently suggested that it is the role of journalists on its platform to help in the correcting of fake news and misinformation. In his tweet thread, Dorsey noted, "Accounts like Jones' can often sensationalize issues and spread unsubstantiated rumors, so it's critical journalists document, validate and refute such information directly so people can form their own opinions. This is what serves the public conversation best."

Jones, who is verified with a blue check mark on Twitter, has been tweeting since the tech bans went into effect on Monday. In one tweet, he acknowledged the ban and added that "people are still finding ways to get the truth." 

Read all of Dorsey's tweets on the topic below.