Dorsey: Twitter Has Put Alex Jones on 'Timeout'


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Twitter  (TWTR) Chief Executive Jack Dorsey says far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones is on “timeout.”

The decision to suspend Jones for a week from the microblogging service was reached after he tweeted a link to a video calling for supporters to get their “battle rifles” ready against the media and others.

“Any suspension, whether it be a permanent one or a temporary one, makes someone think about their actions and behaviors,” Dorsey tells NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview to be aired tonight. NBC provided Barron’s with an excerpt from the interview.

Jones’ offending tweet, which violates Twitter’s rules against inciting violence, bars him from tweeting or retweeting for seven days although he will be allowed to browse the service. The Twitter account for InfoWars, Jones’ controversial website, was not affected.

When pressed by Holt about whether a temporary ban will change Jones’ behavior, Dorsey-who has been criticized for being skittish in handling Jones-was ambivalent.

“I don’t know. We have found that it does have the potential to change-impact and change behavior,” Dorsey said. “So-whether it works within this case to-change some of those behaviors and change some of those actions, I don’t know. But this is consistent with how we enforce.”

Twitter’s action comes a week after Apple (AAPL), Spotify Technology (SPOT), Alphabet‘s (GOOGL) YouTube, and Facebook (FB) banned Jones from their platforms, sparking a parlor game on how social-media companies treat hate-mongering speech.

As we mentioned in this week’s Technology Trader column, Facebook, Twitter and others are now making decisions about speech after months of questions around data privacy and election meddling.

It’s a delicate balance: Profit-driven companies are being asked to make public-safety-driven decisions-and investors must decide what that means for stock prices and private valuations. Facebook and Twitter’s efforts to clean up their services have punished their stock.

As Dorsey told Holt, there is no easy solution.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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