Project Veritas Founder James O’Keefe said he will sue Twitter for defamation after the social media platform permanently suspended O’Keefe’s account on Thursday.
“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. Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me,” O’Keefe said in a statement following the platform’s action.
The permanent suspension comes after the undercover journalism nonprofit released a series of video recordings as part of an exposé on CNN. The recordings that were published this week show top CNN executives admitting that the network’s coverage of President Donald Trump and other issues as “propaganda.”
“All Americans who are defamed every day, whose lives have been destroyed, who did not have the means to fight back. This team is fighting for them, and the principles that define us,” O’Keefe wrote in a subsequent statement on Telegram latter in the day.
“The tyranny of Twitter who lied with malice about me, and admitted misinformation from CNN where they admitted they were propaganda, that we exposed this week—nothing can change The fundamentals. There is only one truth. And Millions see this for what it is—tyranny backed by extraordinary wealth, power. We will win. Indeed, we cannot lose. Thank you, Twitter, for giving us this opportunity for discovery into your operations, and to inspire hundreds, thousands, millions to follow.”
Twitter justified the suspension by saying that O’Keefe had violated Twitter rules on “platform manipulation and spam,” O’Keefe said, in particular, the section: “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 disputes the claims.
This is Twitter’s latest enforcement action against Project Veritas and O’Keefe. In February, the platform suspended the non-profit’s account and locked O’Keefe’s account after the group posted a video of one of its reporters asking Facebook’s Vice President of Integrity, Guy Rosen, for a comment in front of his residence.
Then in March, the platform applied a warning on a post by Project Veritas that showed photos of unaccompanied children huddled under emergency blankets in crowded “cells” at a Texas detention center. The company later claimed that the label was “incorrectly applied by one of our automated tools” while confirming that the warning was eventually removed.
The social media giant has come under fire for allegedly using their monopoly to police speech they don’t agree with. Twitter has been widely scrutinized for their perceived political bias and alleged unbalanced moderation of users’ content, in particular after the platform permanently suspended the account of then-President Donald Trump. Critics say much of the companies’ moderation in the past year has focused on conservative speech and speech from individuals deemed to be supporters of Trump.
Twitter has claimed its content policing is politically neutral but evidence indicates otherwise.
O’Keefe said he will file the complaint to the court on Monday.
Petr Svab contributed to this report.