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

Alex Jones, who was kicked off multiple online platforms in August, shows up in Washington.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
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Erin Carson
2 min read
Alex Jones gestures with his hands at his broadcast desk.

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 can't pick and choose when they act as publishers policing content.

Watch this: Senator Rubio wonders about the true nature of Facebook and Twitter

During the hearing, Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat, asked Sandberg and Dorsey about dealing with the spread of misinformation, citing as an example someone claiming that a school shooting is a hoax. Jones has, in the past, said that the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, in which 26 people died, 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, she said, "We don't think we should be the arbiter of what's true and what's false."

During a brief break, CNET's Rich Nieva, who was attending the hearing, asked Jones about his presence there. 

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

Also during the break, Jones confronted Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio as he was speaking to reporters over what Jones referred to as the purging of conservatives from social media. Rubio told Jones he didn't know who he was. The exchange between the two got testy.

First published Sept. 5 at 7:11 a.m. PT.
Updated at 8:01 a.m. PT: Added question from Sen. Heinrich. At 8:21 a.m. PT: Added comments from Alex Jones. At 8:47 a.m. PT: Added exchange between Jones ad Sen. Marco Rubio.

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