18.08.09 Alex Jones

August 9, 2018
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“Free Speech”
Info War?

aInfowars’A founder Alex Jones faces several defamation lawsuits, while social media platforms remove some of his content. When is opinion no longer FREE SPEECH?

Defamation Suits

Two of the lawsuits were filed by parents of Sandy Hook victims who say they suffered threats & emotional distress due to Jones’ conspiracy theory about the 2012 school shooting being a hoax.

Jones since recanted, but says his words are protected because he is a commentator offering his opinion.

A LOOK AT THE LAW

FREE SPEECH…
Is Not Without Exceptions

Some types of speech have limited or no First Amendment protection, including:

  • Obscene language
  • Words likely to incite a breach of peace / violence
  • Defamatory statements

Defamation Law

Plaintiff argues their reputation was harmed by defendant’s false statement about them.

  • False statement & those made “with reckless disregard of the truth” = defamatory
  • True statement =A non-defamatory
  • Opinion statement = non-defamatory IF it can be proven false [Jones’ defense]

Why This Matters Beyond Jones:

New technology is like the Wild West.

Anyone can reach millions.

The law hasn’t caught up to new communities or new voices made possible by this technology. How the law will evolve in this new era is still a question.

Facebook, YouTube, Apple & Spotify recently removed some of Jones' content from their platforms for violating hate speech or bullying policies. Twitter did not. Why all the platforms decided to take action now, when Jones has posted for years, is unclear.

by Jenna Lee,

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