After initially holding out, Twitter has joined several of its Silicon Valley peers in punishing Alex Jones, with CEO Jack Dorsey saying the conspiracy theorist has been put in “timeout” on his digital platform on Wednesday.
Dorsey, in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, explained why Twitter put a seven-day suspension on Jones’ account, after the media firebrand shared a video telling viewers to get their “battle rifles” ready for the media. The exec said calls to “incitement to violence” were “things that we need to make sure that we’re taking action on.” Dorsey explained Twitter “put him in a timeout, removing his ability to tweet for a time period.”
Holt pressed Dorsey, saying a one week suspension “seems minor” compared to “suggesting a call to arms.”
“Well, I feel, you know, any– suspension, whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and their behaviors,” said Dorsey.
Holt was skeptical the suspension will make Jones change his behavior. “Whether it works within this case to — change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don’t know. But this is consistent with how we enforce,” added Dorsey.
Twitter’s decision to take action against Jones comes a week after several major tech companies — including Apple, Facebook, and Spotify — banned the shock jock for violating “hate speech” and “bullying” policies. Dorsey said last week Twitter hadn’t banished Jones because he hadn’t violated any of the company’s rules. He expanded on Twitter’s handling of Jones, as well as other conservatives, in an interview with Sean Hannity last week.
Collectively, the tech giants makeup the “modern-day town square,” experts told TheWrap, putting Jones’ reach in jeopardy if Twitter were to permanently dismiss him.
“If he was removed from Twitter, it would be virtually impossible to exist in the town square in any meaningful manner,” David Cohn, Senior Director at Advanced Digital, told TheWrap.
Dorsey’s full interview with Holt will air on NBC Nightly News on Wednesday.