Twitter on Thursday permanently suspended multiple social media accounts associated with Infowars, the controversial outlet helmed by right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Accounts used by three people affiliated with Infowars – Owen Shroyer, Rob Dew and Harrison H. Smith – were among those scrubbed from Twitter, the social media service confirmed.
Twitter also purged an account associated with Banned.Video, a website that hosts streaming footage of “The Alex Jones Show,” “War Room with Owen Shroyer” and other programs made under the Infowars umbrella.
Each account was booted for violating a policy that forbids creating accounts to replace or mimic an account that has previously been suspended, Twitter told The Washington Times.
Twitter did not specify what account or accounts the newly suspended users are alleged to have replaced or mimicked, although the company previously banned accounts belonging to both Infowars and Mr. Jones.
Mr. Jones disputed Twitter’s reasoning for removing, however, and he suggested the accounts were banned for touting a protest Mr. Shroyer plans to hold Saturday in opposition to restrictions imposed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Reacting in a statement published by Infowars, Mr. Shroyer referred to being banned from the platform as “Nazi-style censorship from the technocrat left and Nazis at Twitter.”
Infowars has described Mr. Shroyer, Mr. Drew and Mr. Smith as reporters for the outlet, which has frequently faced heavy criticism and censorship since launching in 1999, particularly as a result of amplifying conspiracy theories about subjects including the September 11 terrorist attack and Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, among others.
YouTube, Facebook and Apple each removed content associated with Infowars or Mr. Jones in August 2018 for breaking their respective rules and terms of service, and Twitter followed suit the following month by permanently suspending their accounts for repeatedly violating the platform’s policies.
More recently, Infowars and Mr. Jones have come under fire over their response to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people worldwide.
New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a cease-and-desist order to Mr. Jones last month after he falsely claimed that products sold through Infowars can treat the virus.
The official Infowars app for Android devices was banned from Google’s Play store days later after the tech titan said it was found to have violated its policy against “distributing misleading or harmful information” – a decision announced shortly after it featured a video in which Mr. Jones disputed the need for mitigation efforts meant to slow the spread of the disease caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19, such as social distancing practices and statewide stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders and, Wired first reported.
Mr. Shroyer has since announced he will be hosting a “You Can’t Close America” rally at the Texas Capitol in Austin this Saturday in defiance of the state’s stay-at-home order.
Mr. Jones subsequently claimed during his program Friday that Twitter suspended accounts including Mr. Shroyer’s because they had promoted the protest. Twitter told The Times that is not the case.