Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, says that conspiracy theorist Alex Jones won’t be able to use the site again and will stay banned.
Musk said on Friday that Jones’ account will not be restored, even though some users had asked for it to be. He spent the weekend defending this decision, even as Twitter worked to restore other suspended accounts, including that of former President Donald Trump.
“No,” Musk wrote in a tweet in response to a user’s request that Jones be brought back to Twitter.
Musk said more about his position on Sunday night. He used Bible verses and his own experience with Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to explain why he doesn’t like Jones, who has been ordered to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for lying about the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“I held my first-born child as he died. Musk wrote on Twitter, “I felt his last heartbeat.” “I don’t have any sympathy for people who use the deaths of children for money, power, or fame.”
Some Twitter users praised Musk for continuing to deny Jones a platform, while others, including some of Jones’ own supporters, said it showed Musk’s inconsistent and arbitrary support for free speech principles.
When someone on Twitter criticized Musk’s decision and said they were sad that Jones wouldn’t be able to use Twitter again, Musk said, “Too bad.”
Jones said he didn’t care if he was allowed back on Twitter in a response video posted Friday to the alternative video site Rumble. He also listed a number of other digital platforms where his content is still available.
Jones told his followers, “Don’t blame Musk at the end of the day because he didn’t bring me back.” “I’m the most controversial person in the world because I threaten the new world order the most. So don’t think he’ll bring me back on the first day.”
Musk seemed to draw a line when Jones spread false information about school shootings, but he has been more open to false information about Covid-19. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from Georgia, said on Monday that her personal Twitter account had been brought back after being banned at the start of the year for repeatedly breaking platform rules on Covid-19.
At the time, Greene had been banned from Twitter because he had shared a chart that falsely linked deaths to the Covid-19 vaccines, even though scientific research had shown that the vaccines were safe and effective.
Greene tweeted from her official congressional account, “My Account Is Back.” When Greene’s personal profile was checked on Monday afternoon, it was clear that her tweets were back online.
Greene herself has been criticized for supporting a number of strange ideas. For example, she once agreed with a conspiracy theory that says the Sandy Hook shooting was faked. On her account, people were calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to be killed and she tweeted that she hoped Pelosi would lose her memory while she was in jail.
The decisions show that Musk’s management of one of the best social media platforms in the world has been chaotic and seems to be made up on the spot.
Musk’s sudden and final decision about Jones was very different from how he treated Trump. His approach to Trump was based on an unscientific Twitter poll whose results he tried to pass off as the will of the people, even though he said the poll was being rigged by anti-Trump bots while voting was still going on.
The decisions about the accounts also seem to go against what he said he wouldn’t do: make any “Major Content Decisions or Account Reinstatements” before a new content moderation council met. During a Twitter Spaces event on November 9, Musk told advertisers that it could be months before the council meets for the first time.
Users now have new questions about the criteria Musk will use to decide what will happen to each suspended account. More and more, users see this decision matrix as based on Musk’s personal beliefs and driven by his whims, not by clear free speech principles or terms of service.