Is the Alex Jones Twitter ban a freedom of speech issue?

in dlive •  last month

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Alex Jones has been banned from Twitter and other corporate social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube.

I personally cannot stand Alex Jones. I have tried to watch his show, Infowars, a few times, because I am very interested in the independent media. I was never convinced by the official narrative of 9/11, for example – but that's another subject.

I am very interested in the independent media, in what James Corbett has to say, for example. But Alex Jones - occasionally I've switched on his programme because I was interested in what his guest was going to say, and I've had to watch an hour or more of him ranting, sometimes promoting weight loss pills. Some people - many, many people - find it entertaining, but it's just not my thing at all.

I have to turn the sound down and wait until the guest comes on. I just can't stand him!

But do I think he should be banned? Absolutely not! I don't really think anyone should be banned from these platforms unless they are doing something quite extreme, like encouraging paedophilia, or making serious threats for example. It's a tricky issue. And Twitter hasn't actually specified which tweets Alex Jones was banned for.

I think it's good to have dialogue with people who you don't agree with. I've been on Twitter for several years, although recently my account has been fairly inactive. But I deliberately started following people whose views I didn't agree with. I was interested in debating and discussing issues with them. And sometimes my views were changed as a result! I learned from them. And maybe they learned from me.

But there's a much more serious aspect to this. In the BBC article they clearly don't know exactly why Alex Jones was banned, but they seem to be using the incident in a way that - to me - suggests that anyone who dares to question anything could be in danger of and even deserving of getting banned themselves. What it says is:

The radio host is best known for spreading unsubstantiated allegations about tragic events, including 9/11.

He is currently being sued for defamation by the parents of two children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which he has repeatedly claimed was a "giant hoax".

These are not necessarily the reasons that he's been banned. But I think this article implies that this is the reason.

Twitter said the ban was a result of "new reports of tweets and videos posted yesterday that violate our abusive behaviour policy, in addition to the accounts' past violations".

It did not specify what the violations were.

And then they give some more examples of what Jones has said on Twitter.

Last year, he tweeted that Muslims in England were demanding that the Queen either convert to Islam or leave the country. However, the CNN clip Infowars based its article on dates back to 2009 and features a group led by radical preacher Anjem Choudary, who by 2017 was already serving a five-and-a-half-year sentence for inviting support for the Islamic State group (IS)

This is the kind of thing that I cannot stand about Alex Jones. He sensationalises things; he uses the most extreme examples, really to tarnish Muslims in England – or whatever. I just hate that kind of stuff.

And another thing that he's been quoted as saying is that:

"transgenderism" is a CIA "plan to depopulate humanity" and that the "normalisation of mental illness" is an "evil paedophile plot to sexualise and destroy children".

I mean, this is just sensationalist nonsense. That's my opinion. I don't agree with him! But I certainly think he has a right to say these things. I just have a right not to agree with it, not to watch it, not to listen to it, if I don't want to.

Banning someone to me is an extreme act. I don't know why he was banned, as I say, but I think this is the wrong approach.

My video is at DLive

Link to the BBC online article
Photo of Alex Jones

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To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

My sources say no

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