Editor’s Note: Read more about Twitter’s censorship of James O’Keefe here.
Conservative activist and Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe filed a lawsuit against Twitter this week, alleging the company defamed him by falsely accusing him of operating “fake accounts” in order to ban him from the website.
The lawsuit follows Twitter’s decision last week to ban O’Keefe after he and Project Veritas released an undercover video in which a CNN technical director bragged about pushing “propaganda” to help defeat former president Donald Trump.
According to the complaint, a Twitter spokesperson publicly claimed that it had it banned O’Keefe because he was “operating fake accounts” and using them to “artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts.”
O’Keefe denied the allegations and accused Twitter of launching a “disinformation campaign” to discredit his work.
“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 suit said. “As such, his reputation for transparency and accurate reporting is fundamental to his profession.”
Using language specific to defamation law, the complaint stated that Twitter acted with “reckless disregard” by slandering O’Keefe, and it demanded that Twitter provide evidence supporting its accusation that O’Keefe was operating fake accounts.
O’Keefe was suing for compensatory damages and to stop Twitter from further spreading “false, misleading, and defamatory” information about him, according the lawsuit.
“I am suing Twitter for defamation because they said I … ‘operated fake accounts,’” O’Keefe said in a statement, while invoking Trump’s unfinished crusade to hold corrupt social-media publishers accountable for their recent abuses.
“This is false, this is defamatory, and they will pay,” he continued. “Section 230 may have protected them before, but it will not protect them from me.”
Last year, Trump issued an executive order to revoke the protections granted under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act for partisan tech companies that censor content selectively.
But companies, including Twitter, Facebook and Google, scoffed at the effort to rein them in and doubled down on their own efforts to promote Democrat candidates and issues in the lead-up to the November election.
Project Veritas’s most recent story about CNN was some of the watchdog organization’s most important work to date, O’Keefe said, which is why Twitter wanted it censored.
“It’s probably the biggest story by implication,” he said, according to Reclaim the Net.
“What it represents—this guy, a director at CNN…he’s admitting the network is propaganda,” O’Keefe continued. “… I just want them to be honest; he’s not being honest.”