Alex Jones

Twitter Can Ban Alex Jones, But That Won't Stop Us from Talking About Him

Conspiracy theorist banned for "abusive behavior."


Ron Sachs/picture alliance / Consolidated/Newscom

Twitter has permanently banned Alex Jones for "abusive behavior," the social media company announced Thursday after completing a new review of the conspiracy theorist's activities.

Unlike other companies, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had initially maintained that Jones should be allowed a place on the platform, allegedly overruling his staff on the matter. This was apparently little comfort to Jones, who attempted to confront Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on data privacy in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Jones had a "heated exchange" with a reporter, and decided to stream it on Twitter. This ultimately led to the ban, according to CNBC.

I've previously defended the idea of letting insane people continue to say crazy things on social media because I'm concerned the rules are too unclear, and too likely to be enforced unevenly. Both Dorsey and Sandberg have described their platforms as akin to the public square, and the true public square is, barring a few exceptions, a place for all voices.

But, fine. Twitter belongs to Dorsey, and if he doesn't want to give a platform to Jones, that's his right. Conservatives who have suddenly decided that it would be a good thing for the government to regulate social media like a public utility are engaged in blatant hypocrisy. They are sacrificing their principles, if they ever had them in the first place. The government should not tell private companies how to operate their businesses.

That said, no one should mistake this ban as some kind of huge victory over Jones, or alternative facts, or harassment. Jones isn't really going away—the media won't stop talking about him. His altercation with Sen. Marco Rubio (R–Fla.) after the hearing is pure entertainment gold, and no one can help themselves and just look away. According to a Sprout Social mentions report from Tuesday, Jones' named was searched on Twitter more often than Dorsey's, and he was a top search on Google as well.

Private entities—Facebook, Twitter, The New Yorker—have no obligation to extend a platform to awful people. But de-platforming these figures is not the same thing as making their ideas go away, and we shouldn't treat Jones' ouster as some sort of #resistance victory.

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  1. Question for the “they are private companies” crowd. If the cell phone carriers all got together and decided they didn’t want to enable Hate by allowing Jones any cell service, would you make the same defense?

    We all know if the social media companies did this to liberals, the libs would barrage them with antitrust lawsuits. They are safe from govt action on that score because they are doing it to the left’s opponents. Given that the govt is saying “ban the right people and you’ll be left alone, ban the wrong ones and we’ll come after you”, are they truly acting as free market enterprises.

    1. And if we decided to, say, stifle minority voices and not allow calls involving them…no harm, right?

    2. Eh, they’re a publicly traded company. As a former shareholder, I thought they had a good business plan with the whole “town square” format. But thankfully I sold them after the last surge because 1) for some reason they still haven’t found a way to monetize the hundreds of millions of users on their platform, and 2) it looks like they want to be an “echo chamber” instead of a town square now. And heaven help them if they ever ban Trump – he probably represents about 10% of their traffic.

    3. Exactly, the nature of these social media sites makes more akin to public utilities than private companies. Should electric companies be allowed to not service conservatives because they are private companies? Of course not, well neither should twitter or facebook.

      1. It depends on if they have government sanction in their service. The electric company uses power lines, either city owned or city sanctioned. I can’t ask another electric company to run a power line to my house. Facebook, Twitter, Gab, etc all compete with each other. No natural monopoly.

        That’s the argument for net neutrality. Should Comcast be able to block Alex Jones’ website from your home internet? Should AT&T be able to block it from your cell phone plan?

        1. They have specific statutory protection against being liable for illegal content, that’s a pretty nice “sanction”.

    4. Oh, Longtorso, you silly fool. If all the bakers in a town got together and decided they didn’t want to enable gay marriages by baking cakes, would you still make the same defense?

      1. Quite the stupid analogy, considering one of those is actually happening.

        1. Cell phone carriers are colluding to deny cell phone service to Jones?

          1. Another stupid analogy. You’re on a roll here.

    5. Yes. I would disagree with their actions, like I disagree with the social media companies now, but I would maintain that they can run their businesses however they see fit. I’ve never held a belief in any natural, positive rights to a social network or service provider in general. And I certainly don’t clamber for more government control over the issue.

      Is it (coercive collective action) necessary? Is it effective? At what cost?… Doesn’t pass the smell test.

    6. Honestly, this is a good example to point out that corporations should be made illegal. Sole proprietorships and partnerships only.

      No more special treatment and protections for “investors”.

    7. “I’m not part of the cool crowd anymore, I want government to crack down on the cool crowd” – Conservatives

      If a majority of Twitter users are complaining because they don’t like posts that are espousing republican ideals, then it would seem natural for the admins to just ban the conservatives to keep the lights on. Welcome to having shitty values in the real world. And the fact that this controversy is pushed by liberals who also have shitty values, it’s pretty funny.

      I’m waiting for the new “Hate”-Twitter, like they did with Hatreon. Republicans are absolutely horrible at marketing.

      That being said, those people are still free to create new accounts on the website…

  2. Twitter belongs to Dorsey, and if he doesn’t want to give a platform to Jones, that’s his right.

    Especially after being dragged in front of legislators demanding he do as much or else. I know I’m cool with the process.

  3. the true public square is, barring a few exceptions, a place for all voices

    Like what?

      1. Fucking cucks. Banning Irish gents like Banshee but too afraid to call out Black Bolt?

        1. Ooh, look who’s getting all defensive about his fellow papists!

          1. You’re just another damn open borders type, coming in and letting them damn INHUMANS, made by huffing drugs, take jobs from our natural born X-Men.

            Go huff some more mist and make out with Lockjaw.

            1. Moralizing about what substances people put into their own bodies in the privacy of their own homes, adopting nativism once you and your fellow Papists are already through the gates, and homophobic to boot.

              This is exactly why we should never have let you people into our country. You’ve totally ruined our open and welcoming society.

      2. Now, that’s a microaggression.

  4. Twitter belongs to Dorsey

    According to this Dorsey owns 2.39% of Twitter.

  5. The thing that’s disappointing about the Left’s intimidation tactics towards brave truth tellers like Alex Jones is it’s brazen usurpation of the calm and rational discourse that emanates from a notary like Alex Jones. I mean, the fascist tactics employed by government agents working at Google and Twitter has manifest consequence on the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 6th, 11th, and 19th amendments and, moreover, clearly violates the greatest amendment of them all? the 2nd.

    As people like us? Trump supporters and libertarians? we need to rally around the causes of the 1st Amendment and adopt a boycott of the Nike Corporation for failing to remember that the thing that keeps the spirit of liberty and justice for all around is the actions of US freedom fighters dropping munitions on terrorists/nationalists/communists /Islamists/secularists and, of course, on anyone suggesting that we nationalize an oil well. Further, we need to thank ourselves that we have people like Alex Jones around to remind us that the real villains of Sandy Hook and Columbine are Hillary KKKlinton and the KKKlinton Foundation. Thank you, Alex, you are a brave patriot!

    1. OBL, you’re running out of aliases.

      1. Please, madam! Do not compare me to my arch-nemesis, Douche troll idiot Millenial twat, OBL. To do so is insulting beyond reproach!

      2. That’s not OBL.
        Key to satire/parody is understanding your subject. OBL’s strength is cutting to the chase of progressive belief and psychology, then distilling their arguments into blunt, simplistic, and consequently simplistic forms.
        OBL isn’t always at top form, but there it is.
        WannabeOBL? Just a hodge podge of progressive projections and stereotypes of their opponents. No understanding whatsoever, so progressive parody just turns into self inflicted parody of progressives.
        And, in that way, it becomes doubly hilarious.

        1. Oops, repeated a word there.
          Should read
          *blunt, sincere, and consequently simplistic*

        2. Please sir! I am as libertarian as you and I say it is high time we burn the Nike Air shoe off our foot because Colin Kaepernick has dared insult the brave patriots that bombed North Vietnam and Iraq and has besmirched the President’s high honor and integrity.

        3. Key to satire/parody is understanding your subject. OBL’s strength is cutting to the chase of progressive belief and psychology, then distilling their arguments into blunt, simplistic, and consequently simplistic forms.

          Except he isn’t claiming to be a progressive, but a left-libertarian. He doesn’t understand the difference.

          1. You’re an idiot, Chipper.

            1. Perhaps I was too hasty.
              I’ll give you an out:

              “Except he isn’t claiming to be a progressive, but a left-libertarian. He doesn’t understand the difference.”

              Joining in on the parody?

            2. Lick my vegis.

      3. Someone suggested it was AmSoc, which seems about right to me. It has a similar style as him.

        I think him, OBL, and the third one who’s name escapes me are different people.

        1. Crazy talk. Next thing you are gonna be claiming that you and Sarwark are different people.

          1. I’m completely different. Though I am every Tony but yellow, and perlchpr.

            1. I’m Tulpa

              1. You drive a Mini Cooper?

                1. He drives a Maxi Zimdweebie sedan.

  6. I think the dismissal of conservative arguments is pretty weak sauce. I have seen numerous different arguments, the least of which is that they should treat social media as a Utility. Other arguments include:

    1) That Twitter and other platforms (like YouTube and Facebook) are colluding to deprive customers of a service. Now, a libertarian argument would be that even collusion is not against libertarian principles. But that doesn’t mean conservatives are hypocrites since many disagree with that notion.

    2) That Twitter and other platforms are hiding behind legal protections as a platform, not as a content creator, but their decision to ban conservatives while leaving accounts for terrorist organizations, indicates that they should not be protected by these laws, and therefore should be held liable for content they distribute.

    3) These platforms are in violation of their TOS, because they are not applying them correctly, which has civil ramifications.

    These repeated articles that grossly simplify conservative positions are not at all consistent with Reason’s reputation for seriously approaching issues. It’s just name calling and straw men.

    1. Twitter users aren’t customers. Customers pay to use a service. Twitter users are the product that Twitter sells to its customers: the advertisers.

      1. So if Jones wanted to buy ads on Twitter they would have to accommodate him? Pretty sure they do not allow banned people to buy ads either.

    2. 1. Which is wrong, why? And I’m not sure if “collusion” means much more than asking “Hey, is that guy doing asshole things on your website too?”

      2. But the law that establishes that distinction allows platforms to discriminate against content. The idea that “discrimination = treatment as a content creator” is not much better than a legal theory pulled out of one’s ass in contradiction to statutory evidence that this result was not the intention of the legislature.

      3. Ok, but the TOS are written by the lawyers employed by the platforms, and so, despite airy proclamations about being free places to speak, the actual TOS usually give the platforms a hell of a lot of leeway to censor. Twitter’s TOS includes such gems as “Our Services evolve constantly. As such, the Services may change from time to time, at our discretion. We may stop (permanently or temporarily) providing the Services or any features within the Services to you or to users generally. We also retain the right to create limits on use and storage at our sole discretion at any time. We may also remove or refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, suspend or terminate users, and reclaim usernames without liability to you.”

      1. ” And I’m not sure if “collusion” means much more than asking “Hey, is that guy doing asshole things on your website too?””

        Where “doing asshole things” means “expressing conservative views, and people are listening.” Seriously, you can’t get more polite than Prager, and youtube has his videos on restriction, like they were porn vids or something.

    3. “We may suspend or terminate your account or cease providing you with all or part of the Services at any time for any or no reason”

      How are they violating their TOS?

      1. In normal contract law this would not be allowed

  7. Pretty sure that ranting at and insulting a CEO, to their face, after they’ve just had to deal with mother-fucking-Congress, is a surefire way to get the boot from whatever services that CEO has power over.

    Which is to say, I am entirely unsympathetic here. Jones is either an idiot who didn’t think this through, or a genius who thought this through and realized it would play magnificently with his base. But in either case, I think Dorsey’s actions are entirely understandable.

    1. Believe in something
      Even if it means sacrificing everything

      1. It’s possible to make compromises that ensure your survival, the question to ask at the end is if what survived is still you.

      2. Sacrificing everything would mean committing suicide, wouldn’t it? So don’t be spreading advice you are not willing to follow.

        1. True, Kaepernick should shoot himself.

    2. Sure, again, Dorsey can do whatever he wants, it’s his 2.9% of the company. I just don’t like the fact that he’s looking over his shoulder at Congress who’s got a passel of guns pointed at him while he does it.

      1. They should not be involved at all. It reminds me when I was but a little boy and the MLB was testifying before Congress. And even then I wondered, why is this the federal governments problem?

        1. Really, Bucs? “As American as apple pie and baseball” ring any bells? Baseball literally = Murica

        2. I thought the same, BUCS

    3. I think the latter probably. Jones is a character, and good message is fringe. This supports his character more than it hurts it.

    4. As if Jones wouldn’t have been banned anyway. They were just waiting for @Jack’s congressional testimony to be over.

  8. “Private entities?Facebook, Twitter, The New Yorker?have no obligation to extend a platform to awful people.”

    They do have an obligation if they’ve promised to do so. A publication or social media site that’s openly all about a certain point of view is just fine, whether that point of view is hard left, or John-Birch right, or sad-puppy science fiction, or fluffy-bunny Gaia worship, or…

    But if a site claims to welcome all “reasonable” points of view and then plays shenanigans with what counts as “reasonable,” then it is committing fraud and should be quashed. Hard.

    1. Eh, arguing a fraud case when you’re not the customer probably isn’t an easy trick.

      That said, the discovery process of every Alex Jones case has been pretty amusing so far, so I hope he goes for it.

    2. There you go. National Socialist platform plank 23 injected again into an LP magazine fans’ discussion group by an altruistic and sincere Republican sockpuppet who simply hates the “deliberate political lie”. A couple hundred more such injections and the folks over at Salon will need no further proof that libertarians are nazis.

      1. Lol wut…

        1. I think Hank is chiding him for favoring anti-discrimination in public accommodation laws. Not that sure, though.

        2. Hank is mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a burrito made from the skin of Vulcans.

    3. ut if a site claims to welcome all “reasonable” points of view and then plays shenanigans with what counts as “reasonable,” then it is committing fraud and should be quashed. Hard.

      s a rock solid Trump supporter I say there are way too many parody accounts on Can’t you just come out and say what you mean, Lurker… that the government can go fuck itself when it tries to regulate what twitter and google allow on its domains. That’s much better than these lame attempts at parody, but that’s all you commies can muster anyway in the face of Trump’s greatness. Hillary lost, loser.

      1. This one was actually solid

    4. They do have an obligation if they’ve promised to do so.

      You figure that ‘We promise to facilitate the publication of falsehoods, bigotry, and delusions advanced by unhinged, anti-social losers’ codicil is going to come back to bite Twitter?

      Your lawsuit against a private company for violation of terms of service should be entertaining.

      1. God damn it, the right to accuse aggrieved parents of literally faking the very existence of their child is a core American right, and I will be goddamned if private companies try to stop an emotionally-stable truth-seeker like Jones.

  9. How is Alex Jones going to be able to access Trumps Twitter if Alex Jones is banned from Twitter? He has a right to Twitter now, remember?

  10. Alex Jones serves an important purpose. While never mentioning the Libertarian Party other than disparagingly, he nevertheless helps Altrurian socialists. They visualize him and ku-klux Tea Party mystics as “the right,” then copy and paste that mental image onto all things libertarian. Looters are thereby released from any intellectual obligation to read the LP platform. The effect is kind of like an Index expurgatorius allowing the reading of only settled “science” and mainstream goodthinkfulness.

    1. It’s not *just* that we’re chimps who take every good idea we get out for a drunken joyride, it’s also that we take every shortcut we can find to get there.

  11. His website traffic was sharply down after the Facebook/YouTube bans. This controversy will die in like a week, and he’ll be heard from as much as Milo is these days.

    How’s Milo doing now? Last I heard, he was whining about how his life is destroyed, his money gone, and his friends abandoned him. Couldn’t have happened to a more fitting guy.

    There’s a reason that it’s happening to conservative trolls right now. The right wing tends to come with 4chan and 8chan mobs, forming harassment strike teams, and fun things like gas chamber photoshops. Left wing trolls can be annoying, but right wing troll mobs can destroy a community.

    1. This is the closest Happy Chandler will ever come in its life to an “I am Spartacus” moment

      1. “Could he BE anymore of a douche bag?”

    2. I just went to YouTube and was able to find dozens of Alex Jones videos. And considering how videos of Mexican gangs sawing off their kidnapped prisoners heads seem to stay on YouTube for months, I don’t take much stock in YouTube blocking jack shit.

      1. All the facechat platforms are essentially editorial content companies now.

    3. I am absolutely positive that left wing trolls are superior to right wing trolls.

    4. “Left wing trolls can be annoying, but right wing troll mobs can destroy a community”.
      Being exposed to blasphemous opinions during your bien pensant circle-jerk isn’t ‘destroying a community’.
      Meanwhile, in reality, left wing trolls and their online lynch mobs are destroying actual lives. The toll from twitter prog mobs alone must be in the tens of thousands.

    5. If it makes you feel better 4chan used to be hard socialist like a decade ago. They are fundamentally contrarian.

      1. Many people that call themselves libertarian are fundamentally motivated by being contrarian.

        1. No we aren’t.

    6. Left wing trolls can be annoying, but right wing troll mobs can destroy a community

      If only.

  12. If Alex Jones was woke there would be no “to be sures” about banning him, as we’ve seen with the NFL anthem protests.

    It’s the hypocrisy that makes it all too obvious that this is about “icky” ideas rather than any kind of principles. Before the you accuse others of hypocrisy, perhaps you should look in the mirror

  13. Fuck Alex Jones

    Fuck Hillary Clinton

    Fuck ANTIFA

    Fuck the ProTards and the fucking PuffingTonTaost and the Washington compost

    Fuck the New York Times = where are the WMDs you pieces of war fucking monger shit???

    But oh, ANTIFA is soooo fucking special because they worship fucking Stalin and fucking Mao and fucking Castro and fucking Che.

    Oh so fucking special, so the most holy violent marxist terror group is allowed on the fucking progtard fucking web sites and all their fucking socialist fucking media groups to spew their fucking crap

    Fuck you Antifa you spineless commie pieces of shit.

    And fuck you to all the fucking ProgTards and their fucking web sites who supports these violent fucking losers.

    1. You need to seek professional help. Or just stop consuming right-wing agitprop.

      1. You still haven’t come to the terms that all the most influential hate comes from the left given they hold more levers of power than anything on the right, eh?

        1. Everything is still controlled by powerful Dick Cheney’s.

        2. I suppose you’re momentarily agreeing that there are other sources of malignant power than government? How very unlibertarian.

          Yes, an academic debate about sexual assault is the same threat to you as the actual Republicans in actual government power with a fucking retarded insane person with his finger on the button.

          1. …uh, Past Me, not sure if you know this, but John McCain is dead.

          2. It’s not a threat to me, I was last in college back in the early 80’s. What are they going to do, stop mailing me the free alumni magazine?

            If you’re currently in college, and don’t want your investment in tuition rendered worthless and your career plans destroyed, yeah, it’s a real threat.

  14. Conservatives who have suddenly decided that it would be a good thing for the government to regulate social media like a public utility are engaged in blatant hypocrisy. They are sacrificing their principles, if they ever had them in the first place.

    Given that a large portion of corporate America has made it clear that they hate conservatives, I can’t say that I blame them. What does it gain them to protect their enemy’s right to a club to beat them with?

    Here’s my first principle: I believe in taking my own side.

    1. Ride that backwardness and bigotry just as far as you can.

      I doubt it will go far. America has been moving in the other direction for more than a half-century.

      1. America has been goosestepping in the other direction for more than a half-century.
        Fixed that for you my haute bourgeoisie arriviste.

    2. Given that a large portion of corporate America has made it clear that they hate conservatives,

      Have you ever wondered why that is the case?

      1. Progressivism is fundamentally consumerist and shallow, hence standardization to the lowest common denominator, virtue signalling (“marketing”), and conformity are its highest values. It’s all about going through the motions, or appearing to do so, in order to behave as the central authority both predicts and demands. Further, its socialist features are fundamentally useful for the largest corporations, as it allows and legalizes the threat of force to stifle competition and external innovation.

  15. Who’s the abuser now, hmmmmmmm?

  16. Some companies do not wish to be associated with louts, bigots, and charlatans.

    Other companies do not wish to include contraception in employee health insurance coverage.

    Decent people with a preference for freedom understand how to handle these and similar issues. Right-wing authoritarians do not.

    1. But Hamas, Farrakhan and Jeong are a-okay, even though they’ve tweeted far more horrible shit than Jones, huh. Amazing how corporatist censorship always flows in one direction, sometimes woke rhymes with volk.

      1. How about “woke with yoke” instead?

        1. “Soak on a roak?” No, that doesn’t work.

          1. I just wish I thought up the “Soap on a rope” homage.

            1. How about Pope On A Rope?

          2. Woke blokes broke the bespoke volk yoke.

          3. Volk on a yoke, but you treat it like blokes are all woke ’cause the tweets and the lies are so dope

  17. As a longtime free-speech absolutist who also doesn’t believe government to be the only institution that can exert malicious power over people, I’ve come to a complicated and unresolved place when it comes to stuff like this.

    On the one hand, I like my bigots out in the open where I can keep an eye on them.

    On the other hand, bigotry spreads like cancer, and societies that don’t contain it can be overrun by it, with many current and historical examples.

    On the one hand, in the marketplace of ideas, even Nazis get to compete.

    On the other hand, at some point ideas get to either win or lose, otherwise what’s the point of the competition?

    On the one hand, in the age of the internet, you can hardly hope to contain even the worst ideas and expressions.

    On the other hand, so long as humanity remains mostly stupid, it will be susceptible to right-wing demagoguery and the horrors it can unleash.

    I can’t think of a silver bullet for all this. Only constant vigilance on the part of media companies to maintain the appearance of civility. And I have a sick feeling in my stomach about even that much thought policing.

    Except reason. Please don’t make this place civil, it wouldn’t be fun anymore.

    1. Reason has shitty articles, shitty writers, and shitty software…
      but they don’t edit their comments section.
      This makes them better than almost all other forums I’ve seen – and it’s the only reason they get clicks from me

      1. Shorter Nardz: Everyone else banned me! Reason is all I have left!

        1. Even Reason banned him before. This is not his first user name.

          1. Was his other user name Toni?

      2. And they don’t have upvotes and downvotes scores. That can kill a comment section.

      3. Cherish it, it won’t last. They’re headed left so fast they’re leaving a contrail, and basically all left-wing sites censor their comment sections.

    2. Hundreds of millions more people have died as a direct result of leftist politics than by any demagoguery the right could possibly conjure up.

      As C.S.Lewis observed, hatred can sleep. But leftists with good intentions have a habit of leaving mountains of dead bodies in their wake.

      1. The conservatives have always claimed God and no one has killed more than that motherfucker.

        1. I mean, everyone claimed God for nearly all human history.

        2. Mao killed over 200 Million of his own peoeple.

      2. Nonsense. Genghis Khan wiped out a good chunk of the species, and he was hardly a universal healthcare guy.

        Stop equating modern liberals with authoritarian communists because it has no basis in accuracy.

        On the other hand I do mean to accuse right-wing Republicans of being on the same spectrum as Nazis. Racial scapegoating, the whole bit. All they lack is power, and horrifyingly enough, all they seem to want is power.

        1. National socialist german workers party.

          Key ideology is Lefty.

        2. Stop equating modern liberals with authoritarian communists because it has no basis in accuracy.

          Leftist policies inevitably come down to “We’re all in this together, which means do what I say or else.”

          The people who don’t like it are lined up and shot. You yourself have said that people who reject the teachings of The Prophet Owlgor should suffer such a fate. Don’t like universal healthcare? No healthcare for you. Don’t want to give up your guns? We’re gonna burn your house down with you and your family inside.

          It’s what leftists with power do, Tony. And they do it with a clean conscience.

    3. What did Jones say that was racist? And please don’t just direct me to some word-twisting Salon article about secret Nazi dog-whistles that only leftists can seem to hear.

      As far as I can see, the only actual charges were that he’s a total dick. Not any of the accusations you just made.

    4. I don’t agree with all of your dilemmas here, but at least you’re conflicted on the topic. That’s something

  18. It would be funny if Twitter, FB or Google headquarters turn into a active shooting range. Not saying it would happen but I would love love to watch it live streaming on FB, Twitter or Youtube. Would make for great irony.

    1. That’s not particularly funny.

      1. Your reply to “vaginamerican”, however, will be kind of funny when “vaginamerican” gets banhammered and it ends up looking like you were replying to Tony’s comment immediately above.

        1. This cracked me up.

          +1 FishTony

          1. Did… did you just call me… a fish?!?


            1. No, I gave you +1 FishTony.

              1. Oh. Well, I did always want one of those.

    2. We do not support violence here, homey.

      1. What about kicking dolphins?

        1. Only kicking it with dolphins.

      2. Nonsense. Sure we do.

        We just support it being a two-way shooting range.

        Because those don’t draw nearly as many customers.

  19. Government control of social or any other media is a nightmare scenario. Simple as that.

    1. Government lovers already control social media. There ain’t much difference to be honest.

      1. Come to think of it social media is already a nightmare irrespective of politics.

        OTOH you ever seen anything produced by the government that was even slightly entertaining?

        Even the president has to go to twitter to keep the people from getting bored.

  20. I hope Dorsey ends up a hobo with Tropic of Capricorn as his only possession for engaging in censorship.

    “…That said, no one should mistake this ban as some kind of huge victory over Jones, or alternative facts, or harassment. Jones isn’t really going away?the media won’t stop talking about him. His altercation with Sen. Marco Rubio (R?Fla.) after the hearing is pure entertainment gold,”

    I completely agree it’s gold – which only makes the point of Twitter’s stupidity all the more idiotic.

    His ‘go back to the bath house’ was entertainment at its finest.

    1. There’s a difference between being talked about and being able to spread your message. Emmanuel Goldstein was talked about every day in Oceania under Big Brother, but only an idiot would say it helped him spread his message.

      Soave is trying to downplay how terrible what FB, Twitter, and YT are doing is for freedom of speech. Don’t help him.

      1. Emmanuel Goldstein was a catspaw to give the populace someone to hate instead of focusing how they were being opprssed…oh…

  21. I’ll admit that I watched Jones a couple times quite a few years ago. His schtick at the time was confronting participants at a Bilderberg meeting on the street and making the case that they were engaged in a sinister plot to control the global economy. I had never heard of this group so I did a little research and decided that Jones’ fears were probably misplaced. But I found his over the top paranoia pretty amusing and I’m guessing a significant share of his audience would agree. If he libeled someone than sue the guy. But the idea that Alex Jones poses some threat to the survival of the republic is every bit as paranoid as the idea that the Bilderbergs control the world’s economy.

    1. The Bilderbergs DO control the world’s economy.
      (what’s a Bilderburg?)

      1. “same as in town: $20”

    2. I used to pay a little attention to Alex Jones. I’m from Iowa originally, and he was one of the few people to talk about Johnny Gosch, and that is one fucked up story if you want to go down that hole. But Alex has stepped in dog shit a few times too. His whole Sandy Hook thing was a bit weird. He’s hardly the only person to say stupid shit on the interwebz, though.

  22. Facebook, Twitter, and Google can make it impossible to spread a message. All it takes is three people in a room to decide that you should be silenced and it’s done. That’s more power than the US government has ever had.

    Principles, blah blah. Every set of principles has some situations where following them prevents them from being followed. A pretty good indicator of that is when the people criticizing you for not following your principles don’t follow those principles themselves, e.g.:

    Conservatives who have suddenly decided that it would be a good thing for the government to regulate social media like a public utility are engaged in blatant hypocrisy. They are sacrificing their principles, if they ever had them in the first place. The government should not tell private companies how to operate their businesses.

    Yeah, it’s not like they’re critical infrastructure like bakeries and wedding photographers, eh Robby?

  23. How’s this for an idea: Once a company controls a majority of the market in its industry, it has to split up so that each piece controls only a minority.

    No government regulation necessary, but it keeps consumers’ options open.

    1. How are you going to effect “…a company … has to split up …” without government regulation? How can you even specify it except as a regulation from the government?

  24. Why is anyone on Twitter?

    Answer that.

  25. Yeah, Jones is still insane, and still a hero to our President/

    1. Yeah, Hihn is still insane, and still a hero to nobody/

    2. By the way, Hihn, got a new name for your sockpuppet: “John Alt Jr”

  26. The government should not tell private companies how to operate their businesses.

    It’s simple: either (1) Twitter/Google/Facebook are a platform, don’t exercise editorial control, and as a result are not responsible for content posted on their platform, or (2) they do exercise editorial control, and as a result can be held legally responsible for copyright violations, libel, etc. for content on their platform.

    What isn’t acceptable is to exempt these companies from legal liability for content, while at the same time engaging in politically motivated censorship.

    1. Politicaly motivated censorship by any business enterprise or individual is totally legal as it should be.

      As has been pointed out out here, posting just as we are doing. Reason does not owe you or I a dime. We have no claims. We are clickbait.

      A social media user is not a customer. The user is a product sold to advertisers. There is no contract. I do not pay Reason nor does it pay you or I.

      1. That isn’t what he’s talking about.

      2. Politicaly motivated censorship by any business enterprise or individual is totally legal as it should be.

        I agree. What does that have to do with what I said?

  27. “Jones isn’t really going away”

    I’m not so sure about this. His core followers will find other ways, but the likely vast majority of his audience won’t. Before, he popped up in their Facebook/Twitter/Youtube feeds on occasion, they read or watched the content and spread it. Now he just won’t pop up anymore. And I doubt that most will be bothered to look him up on another platform.

  28. It seems to me that the Social Media companies should have to make a choice; Either they limit their management of content to the very basic matters of behavior that might get one arrested in ‘the public square’ (credible threats of violence and perhaps statements that are actually legally actionable) OR they must give up their ‘we aren’t responsible for content’ defense against lawsuits.

    1. Yeah, that was pretty much the deal from the beginning. They aren’t responsible for user generated content because they don’t exercise editorial control.

      Well, now they do. At first it was against their will— the EU was particularly active in forcing these companies to censor information about individuals— but now they are embracing it whole heartedly. They are trying to be “socially responsible” by making sure that the national conversation is about approved topics, and that the facts and opinions presented to people are the approved ones coming from approved sources.

  29. Sure, the media won’t stop talking about him, but as he’s deplatformed, he won’t be able to get HIS side of the discussion out, so they’ll automatically win all arguments.

    This is a lot bigger deal that you want to realize. This is one of those “first they came for” moments, and your reaction is, “eh, whatever.”

    Libertarians are slow to accept it, but it isn’t just government that can threaten our rights.

    1. So what’s your solution? Have the government force them how to do their business?

      1. Okay, that sentence doesn’t make sense. But you get my point.

      2. You can recognize a problem without having an answer on tap, you know. Identifying a problem is the FIRST step to solving it, not the last.

        Honestly, I put the blame for this on the right, not the left: They have known for literally decades that the left were taking over the media, and lifted not a finger to create competing media outlets. Even FOX was created by a guy who wasn’t particularly conservative, just willing to serve them for a profit.

        One magazine after another went on the auction block for a pittance, and didn’t get bought by the right.

        They passively let the left take over the high ground, and then complain that they’re being shelled from it.

        There’s no substitute for having media outlets with a variety of ideological perspectives. Hopefully this will happen, now that people are waking to the threat.

  30. 1. AJ isn’t racist. I’m tired of hearing that! He married a Jew, his kids are part Jewish, half his staff is Jewish, and a good grip of the rest are black/Hispanic/etc. The Alt-Right thinks he is a total cuck because of this. So please stop with the racism angle of attack, it’s simply false and made up by the MSM.

    2. AJ is out there on A FEW THINGS. But mostly he’s a conservative with a good dash of libertarian sensibility thrown in there. He has some specific theories on some events, NOT the Sandy Hook thing which he NEVER said was staged, but 9.11 etc. But again, mostly he digs up interesting and verifiable stuff, much of which would never see the light of day without him or other alternative media folks that came after him. His interpretations of a lot of stuff is out there, but much of it isn’t too. Listen sometime for those who never have, he’s pretty LOLtastic if nothing else, but still better than watching CNN!

    3. Anybody who isn’t shitting their pants over EVERY MAJOR INTERNET COMPANY IN THE WORLD black listing one of the biggest media personalities in the world is an idiot. This is a test case to see what they can get away with. Love him or hate him, these companies need to be pressured to break on this kind of stuff, or free speech is practically dead.

  31. One thing that is missing in the “they are private companies” argument is the fact that this did not originate with the private companies.

    They were not going around looking for this as a business model. In fact, all of the companies in question started out with a mantra of an open platform with no restrictions. They even fought attempts to restrict what could be said, posted, linked to, etc.

    But then the politicians got involved. Specifically, the progressive politicians began forming committees and working groups and jawboning the Silicon Valley elites. Obama put a lot of pressure on media and internet companies to “do more” – not just in private fundraiser settings or DNC planning meetings, but indirectly through actions against disfavored companies. Operation Choke Point was one leg of this strategy – they used their banking regulatory powers to pressure banks, credit card companies and payment processors to drop disfavored businesses.

    Similar to the internet companies, these were private companies making their own choices.

    This has been an intentional strategy of the left – they’ve been talking about it for decades. It is only now reaching a level where it isn’t easily laughed off.

    1. If you are a conservative think tank or a religious conservative leader, how many barriers have been thrown in your way by “non government action”? You can’t get donations to your cause from credit cards, paypal, or have a bank account. You can’t reach people through any of the main social media platforms..

      But it is all OK. Because it isn’t the government doing it…. (wink, wink…. just because the politicians were meeting with the heads of these companies and the journalists covering the story at a gala in Manhattan last week is no reason to suspect that there might be more than a coincidental occurrence happening)

    2. Correct. The tech companies didn’t want this — the establishment political machine strong-armed them into it.

  32. Interesting that the article starts with talk of “conspiracy theories”.

    You know… those nutty things that crazy people come up with looking for patterns that explain everything, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary…..

    Except that when all of the major social media companies ban the same group of right-wing personalities at the same time on the same day and announce that they have been working together along with progressive activists to come up with standards for their platform and to fight “fake news” which is being pushed by right wing sources and their Russian collaborators, you can’t really call it a conspiracy “theory”.

    I mean, they came right out and said what they were going to do. They have been openly working together to find a mechanism for censoring views that run contrary to their world view for at least 3 years.

    Exactly how much evidence to we need to toss away the “theory” modifier and just label this an actual conspiracy of like-minded progressives?

  33. “Conservatives who have suddenly decided that it would be a good thing for the government to regulate social media like a public utility are engaged in blatant hypocrisy. They are sacrificing their principles, if they ever had them in the first place. The government should not tell private companies how to operate their businesses.”

    What a simple-minded viewpoint.

    I don’t think social media should be regulated, either, at this point. It’s premature at best. But this viewpoint doesn’t even recognize the possibility of market power and monopoly practices and effects.

    For instance, you can’t keep people from using the streets and roads of our communities just based on their speech. That’s true even if you try to get around it by privatizing all of the streets and sidewalks (See Marsh v. Alabama). If the Internet or the platforms on it become analogous to our streets and roadways for information and communication, then the same principle applies.

    1. 2/2

      There’s nothing “authoritarian,” as the other silly Reason article asserted, about upholding neutral free speech principles. This is true even when people advocate for free speech as a cultural value that should be adopted by private actors, broader than the mere legal requirements of the 1st amendment — and even when that advocacy is done by politicians and those in government, short of the point of actually enacting laws that would infringe on the private actor’s freedom of association and freedom to be blatantly anti-free speech.

      Anyway, I agree that social media companies are not monopolies and should not be regulated in this regard, yet. Search (i.e. Google) is closer to a monopoly than social media is at this point. But I’m glad for all the heat and light that is being brought to bear against the lack of transparency and the blatant anti-free speech values at these companies.

      1. Beyond all the recent talk of regulation (which doesn’t amount to much…. yet), it is pretty odd that calling on companies to uphold their stated principles of being an open platform should be immediately met with “they are private companies!! They are free to allow whoever they want!!!”

        These apologists are usually people who would otherwise view themselves as believers in free speech. Yet simply advocating that companies don’t engage in politically motivated censorship is a bridge too far.

        You don’t see a lot of this sort of circuitous logic when there are similar issues at play…. e.g. when there is a private, men’s only golf club you don’t see these same folks with a knee jerk “but they are a private organization!” response – this even though the principle of freedom of association should hold the day as well.

        Outside of Libertarian circles, most people seem to want everyone else to behave in accordance with their norms – or else! And it doesn’t matter if the state is the or else, or whether it comes through private threats. Just so long as everyone lives their life according to their view. (left or right doesn’t seem to make much difference, even though the left is ascendant at the moment)

        1. The irony of the left screeching, “they’re a private organization, they can do what they want!” is just too much. I would disagree with your suggestion that “the right” is just as bad when it comes to free speech, association, economic liberties and so on. They’re much better actually. But I agree with your suggestion that similar levels of hypocrisy can be found on the right in other areas, mostly contained to certain instances in the realm of “moral values” hypocrisy, but that seems to be decreasing.

          The alt-left’s new mantra is “I disagree with what you say . . . and I will fight to the death against your right to say it!”

          1. Not “just as bad” on those issues… just as bad on the impulse to control other people.

            Maybe it is over sex, or drugs, video games or music or whatever gores their ox. But they like to control people too.

            As far as government goes, the left is way more dangerous than the right. Because the left is hard-core on destroying economic freedom. And without that, you don’t really have any of the other freedoms.

            But if you have economic freedom and the government wants to stop you from having a homosexual relationship (or other right-aligned social liberty issue), you still can manage to live your life the way you want in spite of the restrictions. We take away your property and your livelihood and only give it back with strings attached and we own you.

  34. Like the beard, Alex. Search for articles about Newtown, 9/11, and more recently, Jones.

  35. Yes, they can deplatform anyone for any reason. But then they can’t use the Section 230 safe harbor, and any statements they make about “public square” should be prosecuted as false advertising.

  36. Why does it seem that it’s always okay to silence the right–that silencing them counts as ‘wins’ for liberty, but it’s never okay to silence the left–even when the word ‘silence’ is being used as a euphemism for stopping them from beating people for speaking their minds and destroying property? That even suggesting that they need to be silenced is an attack on liberty?

    Why am I expected to fight for the free speech of people who only seem to want to use that free speech to silence ME?

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