Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe kept his promise to sue Twitter for banning him from the platform.
How we got here: O’Keefe announced last week that he will file a lawsuit against Twitter after the company permanently suspended his account. Twitter cited violations of its rules “on platform manipulation and spam” and claimed O’Keefe used “fake accounts.”
“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,’” a spokesperson for Twitter said.
The platform did not say which “fake accounts” the Project Veritas founder operated and did not elaborate on the ban further.
O’Keefe announced the lawsuit during an appearance on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
The lawsuit, which was filed in state court in Westchester County, New York, rejects the claim that O’Keefe operated fake accounts on Twitter. It argues that this assertion undermines his investigative work and is “extremely damaging to his reputation.”
“After suspending Mr. O’Keefe’s personal Twitter account on April 15, Twitter, through an unnamed spokesperson, disseminated to media outlets the provably false statement that Mr. O’Keefe was ‘operating fake [Twitter] accounts,’” the lawsuit said, calling the statement “false and defamatory.”
“The false accusation that Mr. O’Keefe operated ‘fake accounts’ is particularly damaging for Mr. O’Keefe because Mr. O’Keefe is a journalist,” the lawsuit reads. “As such, his reputation for transparency and accurate reporting is fundamental to his profession.”
The complaint accused Twitter of banning the Project Veritas founder “in order to distract and detract from” the undercover videos of a CNN employee whose remarks indicated that the network maintains a certain political narrative.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages and for the court to bar Twitter from making false statements about O’Keefe.
The private information rule: The legal document also mentions Twitter’s ban of the Project Veritas account earlier this year. The company suspended it permanently for violating a rule that prohibits sharing “private information,” pointing to a video of a reporter confront Facebook vice president Guy Rosen outside a residence. The lawsuit notes that this is a common journalistic practice and that many media organizations have published similar videos on Twitter without any sanctions.
“Indeed, CNN had done the same thing on a video tweet with over 2.2 million views in which CNN reporter Drew Griffin confronted a private individual, accused her of spreading Russian disinformation, and exposed her private residential address for the world to see…CNN and its tweet showing the address of this private individual remains active on Twitter to this day,” the complaint argues.
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Author: Penka Arsova
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