This week James O’Keefe has been releasing a series of undercover sting videos involving CNN. Suddenly today, Twitter suspended his account:
BREAKING: James O'Keefe's Twitter account has been suspended pic.twitter.com/G2dAvIXgI2
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) April 15, 2021
The Project Veritas account is also suspended at this moment. Fox News is reporting that a Twitter spokesperson said O’Keefe was permanently suspended for violating its rules against platform manipulation. Specifically, the company accused O’Keefe of operating fake and/or multiple accounts. O’Keefe denied that and said he would sue Twitter for defamation:
A Twitter spokesperson told Fox News that O’Keefe was “permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules on platform manipulation and spam.”
“As outlined in our policy on platform manipulation and spam, ‘You can’t mislead others on Twitter by operating fake accounts,’ and ‘you can’t artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts.'”
O’Keefe categorically denied Twitter’s assertions, demanding the social meda giant point to the “fake accounts” and insisting the claims amount to “libel.”
“I am suing Twitter for defamation because they said, I, James O’Keefe, ‘operated fake accounts.’ This is false, this is defamatory, and they will pay,” the Project Veritas founder said in a statement to Fox News. “Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me. The complaint will be filed Monday.”
Up to this point, O’Keefe has a pretty good record of winning lawsuits against media organizations. We’ll have to see if he can do as well against major social media platforms.
What’s bothersome about the current approach Twitter is taking is that they can suspend large accounts like these without providing any documentation showing someone actually violated their rules. And as we’ve seen before, Twitter sometimes regrets those decisions and even admits they were in error.
The fact that this came in the midst of O’Keefe’s rollout of videos critical of CNN makes the optics pretty bad. Once again, we’re left to wonder if Twitter is enforcing rules in anything like a neutral manner or is merely responding to partisans? Again, we can’t really know because Twitter doesn’t often explain itself. It just bans people and asks us to take their word for it.
Here’s the lastest undercover clip on CNN which O’Keefe released earlier today: