Alex Jones host a radio show called The Alex Jones Show, running websites such as InfoWars, PrisonPlanet, and NewsWars. He is known for promoting conspiracy theories, often absurd, bizarre, and dangerous ones. On September 6th, 2018, twitter announced that it banned Alex Jones twitter accounts for violating their abusive behavior policy. Many people question if the ban was based on ethical, sound reasoning and not just an attempt at silencing a person who has conflicting ideals as the company. It is my belief that Twitter, being a private entity, has the right to manage their website however they see fit and has sound ethical reasoning for the ban of Alex Jones.
Before discussing the ethics of the ban, it is important to understand what Alex Jones represents. I first came across Alex Jones on YouTube where he said, “…I don’t like them [the U.S. government] putting chemicals in the water that turn the freaking frogs gay!”. Jones is speaking about a “gay bomb” that he claims the Air Force is using. He is known for making similar outrageous remarks such as claiming the sandy hook massacre was a hoax. When you boil it down, Jones is a conspiracy theorist and a catalyst for the “fake news” trend sweeping across America.
I visited InfoWars.com on December 5th 2018 and was greeted with a live video of Jones claims he is “Leading the frontal assault against the new world order.” I must admit I have only ever watched highlight reels of the show until now. Upon my visit, I found myself disgusted. For 15 minutes, I listened to, what I can only describe as, the nonsensical rantings and demonstrably false accusations of a deranged man. He spouted homophobic and sexist comments and made little sense.
After watching this live video for as long as I could muster I visited the news section of the site, where I was met with article titles such as the following: Scientists accidentally proves Adam & Eve were real, How Globalist Plan to Poison the Atmosphere to Exterminate Humanity, and Apple Says Alex Jones Doesn’t Have Right to Free Speech and justifies censorship. In the last article, there was absolutely no evidence that a statement similar to this was made by the company. In fact, the article didn’t talk much about this topic at all.
It mostly about Earth being, “a low tech. Simulation [and] projection” (). The entire site is riddled with ridiculous conspiracy theories. I have seen videos of Jones claiming the media misrepresents him, and after visiting his site, the media does misrepresent him. The media paints him to be more coherent and stable than he really is.
It is clear that my ideals and beliefs do not line up with those portrayed by InfoWars and, to many people, this is a cause for concern. Supporters of InfoWares are concerned that Twitter only banned Jones because his socio-political views opposed that of the company. In association with this, the word “censorship” is thrown around. If Twitter did ban Alex Jones because of a difference in beliefs than I would say Twitter did perform a type of censorship.
As I stated in my thesis, Twitter is a private entity that has the legal right to manage their site in whatever way the deem fit. Legal right is key here because, ethically it is shaky. We are not asking if Alex Jones can be banned from Twitter, rather should he be. In J.S. Mill’s book On Liberty, he makes a utilitarian argument for freedom of speech. Mill’s says that the protection of freedom of speech more socially beneficial than censorship.