Twitter has banned InfoWars personality Owen Shroyer for using Twitter and its live-video subsidiary Periscope to promote a rally on Saturday in Austin, TX against the state’s stay-at-home order during COVID-19.
Shroyer this week conducted live streams in which he derided the virus response as a “deep-state” over-reaction and mockingly coughed in the direction of a campus police officer. He has given a name to Saturday’s rally: “You Can’t Close America.”
The protests in Texas coincide with outcries in Ohio, Michigan and other states, where gatherings of hundreds or even thousands of demonstrators have raised public health alarms and tied up traffic. Residents in various parts of the U.S., especially partisans of President Donald Trump as well as other fringe groups, are decrying the strict measures being taken in response to the coronavirus. Echoing sentiments expressed by Trump and others in the White House in recent weeks, they say the devastation to the economy is not a worthwhile tradeoff for blunting the impact of the virus. The U.S. has by far the most cases of the virus of any country in the world, with 668,000, and more than 30,000 people have died.
According to Twitter, the accounts of Shroyer and his producer were permanently suspended for violating the company’s policy on platform manipulation and spam. Specifically, the duo went against provisions against creating accounts to replace or mimic a suspended account. Twitter had permanently banned InfoWars and its founder, Alex Jones, in 2018 after Jones crashed a press conference Sen. Ted Cruz was conducting outside a Congressional hearing.