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Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones rants against Facebook, Google outside DC hearing – CNET

Alex Jones made an appearance in DC. 

Screenshot by Joan E. Solsman/CNET

As congressional hearings featuring Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg kicked off Wednesday, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones held what appeared to be a press conference outside the hearing. 

Jones, the man behind InfoWars, spoke to a crowd of reporters and about 1,000 viewers via livestreaming platform Periscope. He said he was there to "face [his] accusers."

In August, companies like Apple, YouTube, and Spotify booted Jones off their platforms

Among other things, Jones said companies such as these couldn't pick and chose when they act as publishers policing content.

During the hearing, Senator Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, asked Sandberg and Dorsey about dealing with the spread of misinformation, specifically referencing, for example, someone claiming that a school shooting is a hoax. Jones has, in a past, said that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting where 26 people died, including 20 students, was fake. He also said survivors of the Parkland shooting in Florida were "crisis actors."

Sandberg said that she personally finds claims like that upsetting. She also explained how Facebook is offering additional information about posts, saying that bad speech can be countered by factual speech. Still, "We don't think we should be the arbiter of what's true and what's false," she said. 

During a brief break, CNET's Rich Nieva, who is on the ground in DC, asked Jones about his presence at the hearing. 

"They demonize me in all these hearings and tell lies about me," Jones said, going on to call Twitter and Facebook "absolute cowards."

Updated 9/5 at 8 a.m. PT: Adds question from Sen. Heinrich.
Updated 9/5 at 8:21 a.m. PT: Adds comments from Alex Jones. 

This is a developing story.

Executive decision: Twitter's Jack Dorsey reportedly overruled decision to ban Alex Jones.

Tough questions ahead: Facebook, Twitter and Google have a lot to prove to Congress

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