Twitter has banned right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, creator of political gotcha video producer Project Veritas, for violating its “platform manipulation and spam policy,” suggesting he was operating multiple accounts in an unsanctioned way. O’Keefe has already announced that he will sue the company for defamation.
The ban, or “permanent suspension” as Twitter calls it, occurred Thursday afternoon. A Twitter representative said the action followed the violation of rules prohibiting “operating fake accounts” and attempting to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts,” as noted here.
This suggests O’Keefe was banned for operating multiple accounts, outside the laissez-faire policy that lets people have a professional and a personal account, and that sort of thing.
Ssharp-eyed users noticed that O’Keefe’s last tweet unironically accused reporter Jesse Hicks of impersonation, including an image showing a partly redacted phone number supposedly belonging to Hicks. This too may have run afoul of Twitter’s rules about posting personal information, but Twitter declined to comment on this when I asked. (Update: The image was in fact redacted, I thought it was done by the person who took the screenshot but the first digits were removed in the original tweet.)
Supporters of O’Keefe say that the company removed his account as retribution for his most recent “exposé” involving surreptitious recordings of a CNN employee admitting the news organization has a political bias. (The person he was talking to had, impersonating a nurse, matched with him on Tinder.)
For his part O’Keefe said he would be suing Twitter for defamation over the allegation that he operated fake accounts. Chief Legal Officer Jered T. Ede told TechCrunch that “James O’Keefe has only one account. He does not have fake accounts. Twitter’s statement is simply false.”