The following letter was submitted to The New York Times in response to "Free Speech Experts Argue Against Infowars Founder" (Aug. 8)
To the Editor:
The debate over whether Alex Jones should have been removed from Facebook, Apple and other platforms seems almost quaint and academic when one looks closely at his long history of spreading outright lies and appeals to bigotry.
After the violent alt-right protest in Charlottesville, Va., a year ago, Mr. Jones announced that he suspected that many of the attendees were actually “leftist Jews” in disguise, there to discredit white supremacists and incite violence. “Literally, they’re just Jewish actors,” he said of the white supremacists. “They all look like Howard Stern.”
His conspiracy theories are serious, but one would have thought that his open appeals to bigotry and frequent anti-Semitic dog whistles should have merited his removal from social media and podcasting platforms long ago.
We, too, believe strongly in the First Amendment, but social media sites, which are not bound by the First Amendment, have a responsibility to provide safe, respectful and inclusive spaces for their broad community of users.
Jonathan A. Greenblatt
Chief Executive and National Director of the Anti-Defamation League