Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Stuns With Decision NOT to Ban Alex Jones: Site Will Not Bow to ‘Outside Pressure’ Or be Motivated by ‘Short-Term’ Political Goals

Jack Dorsey on November 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)
Jack Dorsey on November 21, 2016, in Washington, DC. (Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images for Thurgood Marshall College Fund)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey bucked a tech giant trend on Wednesday and shocked the internet in the process.

After Facebook, Apple, Spotify, and YouTube shut down or removed most of Jones’ often inflammatory and conspiracy-laden InfoWars content, everyone was waiting on Twitter to do the same. But Dorsey surprised onlookers with the following statement providing the company’s rationale for not following suit with its Silicon Valley peers.

We didn’t suspend Alex Jones or Infowars yesterday. We know that’s hard for many but the reason is simple: he hasn’t violated our rules. We’ll enforce if he does. And we’ll continue to promote a healthy conversational environment by ensuring tweets aren’t artificially amplified.

Truth is we’ve been terrible at explaining our decisions in the past. 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.

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

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.

The Twitter Safety account concurred with the message: “As we have stated publicly, we strongly believe Twitter should not be the arbiter of truth nor do we have scalable solutions to determine and action what’s true or false.”

At the end of his post, Dorsey linked to a “living document,” a blog post called “The Twitter Rules,” which can be read here.

–Joshua James