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Twitter says Infowars hasn't 'violated our rules.' It looks like that's not the case

Discussion in 'Articles & Happenings' started by CatParty, Aug 10, 2018.

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  1. https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/09/media/twitter-infowars-alex-jones/index.html

    Twitter's vice president for trust and safety, Del Harvey, told employees in an email on Wednesday that if far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fringe media organization InfoWars had posted to Twitter the same content that led YouTube and Facebook to take action against Jones and InfoWars, Twitter would have done something too.
    "It's worth noting that at least some of the content Alex Jones published on other platforms (e.g., Facebook and YouTube) that led to them taking enforcement against him would have also violated our policies had he posted it on Twitter," Harvey wrote. "Had he done so, we would have taken action against him as well."

    But a CNN review of Jones' accounts show that all of the videos that initially led the other tech companies to take action against Jones were in fact posted to Twitter by Jones or InfoWars. All were still live on Twitter as of the time this article was published. CNN noted this in a request for comment from Twitter on Wednesday morning, before Harvey's email was made public. The company declined to comment at the time.

    Those videos were not the only content CNN found in its review of Jones' and InfoWars' Twitter accounts that suggest the social media platform's statements about its stance are incorrect, or that its rules are not being applied to Jones and InfoWars.

    Content that appears to violate Twitter's rules appears over and over again in the hundreds of hours of video available on the accounts that Jones and InfoWars maintain on Twitter and Periscope, a livestreaming video service that Twitter owns. Jones has repeatedly degraded individuals of the Muslim faith. He has attacked people on the basis of gender identity. And he has engaged in the harassment of individuals.

    CNN on Wednesday morning presented Twitter with examples of such content available on both the InfoWars and Jones account. A spokesperson at the time said the company had no comment beyond a statement CEO Jack Dorsey made on Tuesday in which he said neither Jones or InfoWars had "violated our rules" and other previous statements by the company. When asked if Twitter would be reviewing the videos and content CNN had asked about, the spokesperson declined to answer. On Thursday afternoon, after another request for comment, a different Twitter spokesperson notified CNN that the company was reviewing the content.

    After this story published, the tweets included in this article were removed from Twitter. A Twitter spokesperson told CNN that Twitter had not removed the content, and that the company was still reviewing it. The Twitter spokesperson said that either Jones or someone with access to his accounts had likely removed the tweets. A spokesperson for Jones and InfoWars did not immediately respond for comment.

    On Monday, after his accounts were deleted from other platforms, Jones tweeted, "We've been banned completely on Facebook, Apple, & Spotify," and asked, "What conservative news outlet will be next?" He then pointed readers to InfoWars' website, calling it "The one platform that they CAN'T ban." Wednesday, he posted on Twitter a video message directed to Dorsey. In it, Jones said, "The mere fact that you are saying you are standing up for [free speech] is a good thing. And you're being attacked so I'm glad you've doubled down at least for now."

    Twitter is one of the only major social media companies that has not taken any action against Jones or InfoWars in the last week. Since Sunday, Jones has seen much of the social media infrastructure for his media empire crumble. Apple removed the full library of his podcasts, Facebook unpublished his pages, YouTube terminated his account, and other technology companies took similar action. (InfoWars apps do, however, remain available on both the Google Play store and Apple's app store.)

    Twitter's policies prohibit users from abusing others. "You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so," Twitter's rules say. "We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else's voice."

    Twitter's rules also do not allow for "hateful conduct," or the harassment of people "on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease." The hateful conduct policy also prohibits the promotion of violence against the aforementioned protected groups of people and states that Twitter does "not tolerate" content "that degrades someone."

    Below, examples of some of the content CNN has found that appears to violate Twitter's rules.

    Sandy Hook conspiracies

    Jones and InfoWars are notorious for spreading demonstrably false information and conspiracy theories on a host of issues. Among the conspiracy theories Jones and his media organization have advanced is one that the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax staged by child actors — a conspiracy theory that has resulted in Jones being sued by parents of some of the victims for mental and emotional distress.

    For years, Jones has used Twitter to spread such falsehoods.

    Harvey acknowledged in her email to employees that Jones had posted "reprehensible" content about the Sandy Hook shooting on Twitter. She added that at the time he did so, the conduct did not violate Twitter's standards, though she said it would now. (Twitter bolstered its policy regarding harassment and abuse in December 2017.) And, she said, "If people report past content 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."

    Despite what Harvey said, CNN found multiple examples of Jones advancing conspiracy theories regarding Sandy Hook on Twitter. At the time of publication, the tweets remain online.

    For instance, Jones has falsely tweeted that the FBI said "no one [was] killed" at Sandy Hook and suggested that the father of a victim was reading a script ahead of a press conference.

    In December 2014, Jones tweeted that people should "check out" a documentary that "blows the lid off suspected #SandyHook cover-up." In the tweet, he linked to an InfoWars story that described the documentary, which YouTube has since removed. The story described the documentary as unearthing "countless anomalies, inconsistencies, and discrepancies evident in the Sandy Hook school shooting investigation." The InfoWars story included a quote that said, "The consensus among the group is that the Sandy Hook event is largely or entirely fraudulent."

    In July 2015, Jones tweeted that there had been a "MEGA MASSIVE COVER UP" of the Sandy Hook shooting. He linked to an InfoWars article that claimed a former FBI agent had discovered "inconsistencies" on the matter. The article included a video that has since been removed from YouTube in which the media organization "explores why people believe the Sandy Hook shooting to be a hoax."

    Parkland shooting

    Jones has also targeted on Twitter the student survivors of the Parkland shooting. The Twitter Rules prohibit the "targeted harassment of someone" or inciting others to do so.

    In one video available on Twitter, Jones compared Parkland survivor David Hogg to the Nazis, saying, "The Nazis did wear armbands, David Hogg wears one. The Nazis were a youth movement, they didn't want the guns. And so if the shoe fits, wear it." In another video on Twitter, Jones appeared to compare Hogg with Adolf Hitler, and said that there were "very strong parallels" between Hogg and the Nazis.

    A video posted by InfoWars on Twitter also asked, "Are Child Actors Being Used To Push Gun Control in Florida Shooting?" It strongly suggested that student survivors of the Parkland shooting were acting.

    Gender Identity

    Twitter's "hateful conduct" policy prohibits harassment on the basis of gender identity. The policy says Twitter does "not tolerate" content "that degrades someone." But Jones has repeatedly targeted gay and transgendered communities with videos and rants that appear to harass and degrade gay or transgender people.

    Jones and InfoWars have linked gay rights with pedophilia. In July 2015, after the US Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Jones tweeted that the decision "opens door for pedo politicians." In the tweet, he linked to an InfoWars story that said the ruling "may pave the way for pedophile rights" and make it "easier for perverted politicians to commit their molestations."

    Jones has also on Twitter advanced the conspiracy theory that the government has poisoned the water supply with chemicals that turn people gay.

    "They are putting chemicals in the food and water where you look at men and women, you can't tell what's what most of the time," Jones said in one video uploaded to Twitter.

    In other videos, Jones has gone on extended rants against drag queens.

    In one video posted on Twitter, Jones played a clip of the "Drag Tots," an animated show, and drag queens with children. Jones referred to the drag queens as "soul sucked fallen slaves" and suggested they should burn in Hell. Jones accused the drag queens of introducing children to "Satanism" and "satanic rituals."

    "We're going to destroy you," Jones said of the drag queens.

    That video was one of the pieces of content that YouTube removed and which was the basis for some of that company's disciplinary action against Jones.

    In another video posted on Twitter, Jones played a video of drag queens reading books to children. Jones then said they like to "show up" at schools and "have their way with your children" while wearing "demon outfits."

    Jones also baselessly accused Michelle Obama of being a transgendered person with male genitalia. In an August 2017 video, he called her a "tranny," a derogatory slur used against transgendered people. Jones repeatedly suggested "she's packing" something in her pants that is "jiggling around, it's flopping around." Jones said, "She adjusts it like a man does. It's incredibly obvious."

    An InfoWars video posted in July 2018 falsely declared that the "CIA admits transgenderism is a plot to depopulate humanity." In the video, Jones said it was a plan developed by the British government to "break down" the family unit. "But to do that first, they have to confuse the gender," Jones said.

    Muslim Faith

    Twitter's "hateful conduct" policy prohibits harassment on the basis of religion. But Jones has repeatedly used Twitter to degrade and attack those of the Muslim faith.

    A November 2017 video posted to Twitter by InfoWars claimed The Crusades were a "defensive" measure. In the video, Jones suggesting individuals of the Muslim faith were invading Europe. He shouted, "And we are going to stop you again! Do you understand?!"

    Another video posted by InfoWars to Twitter showed Jones portraying Muslim people as violent individuals who are members of an "expansive, intolerant religion of a billion and a half people oppressing their own people, oppressing women, attacking."

    In a July 2017 tweet, InfoWars claimed liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros planned "to use Muslim migrant hordes to destroy the West."

    In a January 2018 tweet, Jones linked Islam with pedophilia. His tweet said, "Western Countries Move to Legalize Pedophilia for Muslims."

    In May, Jones and InfoWars linked Muslim migrants to crime. In a video posted to Twitter by InfoWars, Jones played a video of French President Emmanuel Macron dismissing the notion that crime rates were linked to migration. Jones responded by mocking Macron, saying, "We are committing suicide. Only 95% of the police say the Muslims are raping!"

    In another video posted to Twitter by Jones in May, he claimed Muslims are invading Europe, and listed the dangers he claimed are associated with migration. Jones warned that Muslim migrants are "ending the West," saying parts of Europe were "done" because they had allowed for Muslim immigration.

    "It's a takeover of the West," Jones said in the video. "And the women don't care if they are slaves or their daughters are slaves. They have an existential brainwashing like a duck that has been hatched out of the egg. The imprints are tyranny. It just wants to take down Christianity."

    Both of the May videos posted by InfoWars and Jones were among the initial pieces of content that YouTube removed and which were the basis for some of the disciplinary action that YouTube took.

    Targeted harassment and glorifying violence

    The Twitter Rules prohibit content that glorifies violence or "celebrates violence (and/or its perpetrators) in a manner that may promote imitation of the act."

    But InfoWars uploaded a video to Twitter in June 2018 that appeared to do exactly that. Titled "How to Prevent Liberalism: A Public Service Announcement," the video showed an adult throwing a young child to the ground. After falling to the pavement, the child screams, seemingly in pain.

    YouTube said the video violated its community standards and deleted it.

    Twitter's rules also prohibit the targeted harassment of individuals or the incitement of others to do so. But Jones has repeatedly used Twitter to attack and dehumanize people.

    In one video posted to Twitter by Jones, the InfoWars founder called CNN Senior Media Correspondent Brian Stelter the "literal demon spawn of the pit of Hell," a "smiling leering Devil," and a "degenerate sack of anti-human trash." Jones referred to Stelter as the "enemy" who was "drunk on children's blood." Jones shouted at Stelter, "You will Pay!" He added, "You will fall!"

    In the same rant, Jones targeted journalist and "Fire & Fury" author Michael Wolff. Jones called Wolff "creepy" and said he had a "predator" and "demon" look, among other things.

    -- CNN's Paul P. Murphy contributed reporting.
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    CatParty Boo
    True & Honest Fan

  2. Wait, the dyke from To Catch a Predator is an executive at Twitter?
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    ForgedBlades Milled wedges.

  3. Ohmigosh. Up to now I seriously thought that 'Infowars' was political satire.
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  4. I mean, I find it entirely possible Twitter admins just find it impossible to believe he's serious. I know I do.
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    Vrakks Please... I go by Gold Diamond now.
    True & Honest Fan

  5. So somebody thinks they understand the terms of service better than the Vice President of a company.

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    True & Honest Fan

  6. Company lawyers. They always do.
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  7. "liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros"

    These people actually believe their own hype, don't they?
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    Lord of the Large Pants

    Lord of the Large Pants Chicks dig giant robots.

  8. Next up on CNN: Were dobbing on you! Yes now we are actually going to hunt down our viewers and demand they be damnatio memorae, and act like pussy little cunts if we catch anyone else while we're at it!
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  9. Oh no! Mean words . Bring me my fainting couch. This whole situation is absolutely absurd.
    • Agree Agree x 6
  10. Lunatic conspiracy theories? General intolerance? Thinly veiled threats of physical violence? On Twitter?! :O
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    Irwin M. Felcher

    Irwin M. Felcher immediate regret

  11. Why should CNN bother writing an article calling out twitter for allegedly failing to punish one of their own users? What would the point be? A customer's relationship with their service provider really shouldn't matter to an outside 3rd party.

    Is it because twitter is so huge and ubiquitous that how they conduct their private business actually affects the public significantly? Twitter can't decide to ban or not ban a big name without it effectively being in the public's interest? To presume good faith on CNN, is that the angle they see it?

    Hmm, if that's the case then CNN seems to believe businesses like twitter are so dominating in our lives that they don't really have the right to act truly privately anymore, their decisions are beholden to the public interest.

    So if we're assuming CNN is honest and acting with integrity, it sounds like their will to even pursue writing articles like this means they believe these platforms are public-adjacent utilities and perhaps beholden to free speech requirements. That might open up a lot of talk about banning wrongthink and conservative beliefs.

    Kind of makes you think a bit.
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    Alec Benson Leary

    Alec Benson Leary Creator of Asperchu
    Christorical Figure

  12. In one video available on Twitter, Jones compared Parkland survivor David Hogg to the Nazis, saying, "The Nazis did wear armbands, David Hogg wears one. The Nazis were a youth movement, they didn't want the guns. And so if the shoe fits, wear it." In another video on Twitter, Jones appeared to compare Hogg with Adolf Hitler, and said that there were "very strong parallels" between Hogg and the Nazis.

    So... calling someone a nazi on twitter should be bannable, according to CNN. How interesting! I'd personally enjoy watching that be enforced.
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  13. We're talking about people who have demanded the FCC enforce the Fairness Doctrine (eliminated by Reagan) on stations which aired right-wing talk radio like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and also Fox News. Yet they never seem to consider what the Fairness Doctrine might mean if applied to NPR, CNN, MSNBC, etc., let alone what it might mean if Facebook or Twitter were subjected to the Fairness Doctrine.
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  14. upload_2018-8-10_7-33-47.png

    Alright... your conduct on twitter isn't so stellar either.

    Dunno how that compares to fueling the flames of a war that lead to the killing millions but I guess some sins matter more than others.
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    Apoth42 Hehe xd

  15. If one day your point is “platforms have rights and can choose to boot Alex Jones,” the next day you kind of have to accept “platforms have rights and can choose not to boot Alex Jones.”
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  16. Twitter is a dump, who cares what they do. They shadow-ban conservative points of view anyway, so their opinion doesn't matter.

    Once Alex Jones is out of the news, expect a purge of non-progressives from social media and websites. It's like they don't care about anything except getting revenge for Donald Trump being president.
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    Duke Nukem

    Duke Nukem Dimensional Merge Welcoming Party #1218C197

  17. del harvey is a hero she was one of the decoys on to catch a predator
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    Huntin' Slash

    Huntin' Slash in memory of @hyperion 1980-2017
    Staff Member Manager

  18. Sounds like Twitter missed out on the meetings between the other tech companies.

    thismanlies The Funnest Part of Gaming is Looting Corpses.
    True & Honest Fan

  19. I am just here to point out that Trump's biggest ongoing publicity stunt is his Twitter account, and it is the refuge of Alex Jones. They don't 'shadowban' conservatives.
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    Dr W

    Dr W I Am The Peepee Poopoo Man

  20. She is one of the "backchannels" Brianna Wu has at Twitter
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    millais The Yellow Rose of Victoria, Texas

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