WASHINGTON - Twitter said Wednesday it was putting curbs on the account of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones after he called on his supporters to take up “battle rifles” to fight internet censorship.
The social network’s move affected the personal account of Jones, who operates the Infowars website that has disputed the veracity of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Sandy Hook school massacre and other events.
Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey told NBC News that “we put him in a timeout,” which resulted in “removing his ability to tweet for a time period.”
Dorsey, who had previously rejected calls to ban Jones and Infowars, said the move was “consistent” with Twitter’s policies and that a suspension “makes someone think about their actions.”
According to a Twitter email to AFP, Jones’s account is not suspended but “has limited functionality,” as part of an enforcement effort that requires tweets violating Twitter rules to be deleted.
Media reports said Jones’s account was in read-only mode for seven days, allowing him to browse but not to tweet or retweet.
Jones said in a video message late Tuesday that Twitter was “suspending, and may shut down completely” his account.
Jones claimed that the move came “because I violated rules in a video that I shot last night saying that Trump should do something about the censorship of the internet.”
In a video on Monday on Twitter-owned Periscope, Jones told his supporters “it’s time to act on the enemy before they do a false flag… So, people need to have their battle rifles and everything ready at their bedsides and you got to be ready because the media is so disciplined in their deception.”
His Infowars account on Twitter was not affected, and was actively tweeting about the move on Wednesday.
Infowars tweeted that the suspension “comes after an intense and obsessive campaign by a CNN reporter who appears to be spending every waking hour trying to get Jones banned.”
Apple, Facebook, Spotify and YouTube have all banned Jones on the grounds that he engages in hate speech.
Dorsey drew criticism last week for continuing to allow Jones to use the platform, arguing that he had not broken Twitter’s rules.
Among the conspiracy theories Jones has peddled are charges that the U.S. government was behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the Sept. 11, 2001, strikes on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Several days ago, Facebook removed four videos Jones posted that the group said violated its policy on hate speech.
Jones responded by posting more content on other pages, prompting the social media giant to suspend his four main pages.
Facebook stressed that it was the violent language used by Jones, rather than his conspiracy theories, that prompted the move.