HE is the conspiracy theorists’ conspiracy theorist but Alex Jones, arguably the internet’s leading purveyor of so-called “alt-facts”, may have gone too far in saying that the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Connecticut in 2012 didn’t actually happen.

The world knows differently – 20 children aged six and seven along with six staff members were shot and killed at Sandy Hook by 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza after he had gunned down his mother at their home in Newtown, Connecticut. Lanza shot himself in the head at the conclusion of the massacre.

Just as with the Oklahoma bombing, 9/11, and other events such as the Moon landings, conspiracy theorists soon concocted an alternative narrative that the US government caused it to allow them to bring in greater gun control. Jones went further and said the massacre was completely fake.

READ MORE: We must not tolerate hate but freedom of speech is important

In March this year six families of the victims filed a defamation lawsuit against Jones for his role in spreading conspiracy theories about the shooting.

The families’ reaction has set up a very major court case that could go all the way to the US Supreme Court, for Jones has already made his position clear that he will defend his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

In the home of conspiracy theories, that is a huge deal because the court may have to decide one of the biggest issues of the internet age – just how far can conspiracy theorists go in their obsession, just how far can you go in hurting people by denying the truth.

The National:

As well as disseminating conspiracy theories and right-wing propaganda, Jones uses his InfoWars website and podcasts to sell his own mail-order material including bulletproof vests. It is reported to get 10 million hits a month – more than most major newspapers in the US.

His radio shows are played on 60 American radio stations, and his YouTube channel regularly attracts 2.3m subscribers.

But his Sandy Hook statements and his regular pronouncements against Muslims have caused a growing backlash against Jones, a 44-year-old right-wing radio “shock jock” from Texas, that has seen Apple, Facebook, and Spotify ban him for “hate speech”.

Jones claims that “big tech” is doing to him and freedom of speech what the governments of repressive states do – silence opposition.

Twitter has refused to remove his content saying that Jones has not broken any of their rules. That incensed the mother of UK-born Dylan Hockley, a six-year-old killed at Sandy Hook, and yesterday she called out Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey – on Twitter of course.

Nicole Hockley tweeted a direct message to Dorsey. She wrote: “I remember when we met & the compassion you displayed to this Sandy Hook mom.

“Since then, I’ve stopped reporting harassers on Twitter, because action rarely takes place. And now you’re enabling that harassment to continue.”

She later tweeted: “What sort of mother am I to my surviving son if I don’t stand up to this? What sort of mother am I to my dead son if I don’t stand up to this?”

The latest Sandy Hook lawsuit against Jones, filed last week in Texas, accuses him of being “the chief amplifier for a group that has worked in concert to create and propagate loathsome, false narratives about the Sandy Hook shooting and its victims, and promote their harassment and abuse”.

Jones replied on his radio show: “This is the modern Lexington, this is the modern Concord. This is the modern fight where they’re coming to take it all.

“This is defamation against me, it’s an information war. It’s a misrepresentation. They can find lawyers every week to file disinformation. It says they’re desperate and they’re wild and it shows we’ve got to get past their intimidation.”

No-one can deny that Jones represents a growing sphere of influence in American political life, not least because of his friendship with President Donald Trump. But now the courts will have to decide if Jones has spread one conspiracy theory too far.