Alex Jones, America’s most unhinged vitamin salesman, has been temporarily suspended from Twitter. The social media company has sent Jones to what users call “Twitter jail”, meaning that he can’t publish any tweets for the next seven days. The InfoWars Twitter account, which has just over 400,000 followers, has also been suspended.
Jones has been banned from virtually every major social media platform over the past week, including Facebook and YouTube, but the conspiracy theorist has remained incredibly active on Twitter.
The Twitter suspension is supposed to be temporary, but there are calls for Jones to be banned permanently after he and his followers harassed the families of children who died in the 2011 Sandy Hook massacre. Jones previously described the mass shooting as a hoax “with actors”.
First reported by CNN, Alex Jones will be unable to send tweets for the next week, but the operators of his account will still be able to read tweets.
CNN reviewed Jones’s tweets last week and discovered that contrary to the company’s own statements, Alex Jones has violated Twitter’s rules regarding hate speech and incitement. The company’s CEO Jack Dorsey has repeatedly defended giving Jones a platform even after other tech companies banned him completely.
Jones described his current troubles with tech companies as “like a James Bond movie” in a video posted to the InfoWars Twitter account around 5PM AEST yesterday. Jones believes that the largest companies in Silicon Valley are conspiring with the Chinese government (Jones calls Chinese technology companies the “Chi-coms”) to keep him from spreading the truth.
“I’m not even worried about me at this point, this is so authoritarian, it’s just crazy how these foreign corporations got control of the US,” said Jones in a video that was uncharacteristically subdued in tone.
Jones, known for his flamboyant and screaming character, stands to lose a lot of money if he can’t reach his audience through the millions of fans he’s amassed around the world on different platforms. Jones makes an estimated $US18 million ($25 million) per year through his online sales of everything from emergency survival food to concealable body armour.
But his dietary supplements are reportedly the most profitable, including products such as Brain Force Plus and The Real Red Pill Plus, which are promoted by President Trump’s friend and confidant Roger Stone.
How much do you suppose Roger Stone is getting paid to promote InfoWars pills? pic.twitter.com/8TtkjBgZcU
— Matt Novak (@paleofuture) August 14, 2018
Yesterday, the main web domain for InfoWars.com experienced what Jones described as an online attack, supposedly a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack — which occurs when a website is artificially overloaded with visitors, causing it to shut down. As of last night the site still appeared to have trouble loading, but Gizmodo could not independently confirm the cause.
The list of tech companies that want nothing to do with Jones grows by the day and now includes Apple, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Pinterest. InfoWars has also been banned by Disqus, its commenting platform, though Jones is still active on Google+, a platform that’s mostly just a ghost town at this point.
Buzzfeed News reports that the InfoWars account has been suspended for seven days as well.
Some news: Twitter has temporarily limited the Infowars account for 7 days. According to company spokesperson, Infowars shared a video that violated terms of service. This is the same video shared by Alex Jones. Infowars will be prevented from tweeting, RTing and liking.
— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) August 15, 2018
Dorsey also appeared on NBC News calling the suspension of Jones a “timeout”.
NEW: Exclusive: "Any suspension, whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and behaviors," Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tells @LesterHoltNBC on Alex Jones' suspension. https://t.co/1ElUHC7UnD pic.twitter.com/sjLUnyohGl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 15, 2018
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter but had not heard back at time of writing.
Hopefully this seven days of suspension will give Jones some time to think about what he did and…. not call mass shootings a hoax or call for violent revolt against journalists.