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Twitter Bans Project Veritas Whistleblowers, Locks Founder's Account


Twitter banned the whistleblower website Project Veritas from its platform early Thursday morning for "repeated violations of Twitter's private information policy" after the website posted a video of a short confrontation between one of its journalists and a Facebook executive that occurred outside the executive's home. 

The social media giant also temporarily locked out the website's founder James O'Keefe from using his own account for allegedly violating the private information policy. 

A spokesperson for Twitter told Fox News @Project_Veritas was "permanently suspended for repeated violations of Twitter's private information policy." Additionally, the account, @JamesOKeefeIII, was "temporarily locked for violating our private information policy" and that O'Keefe is "required to delete the violative Tweet to regain access to their account."

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The New York Post reports the ban came after the website posted leaked video clips on Wednesday from a meeting of Facebook executives where they discussed the development of censorship tools. 

"We have a system that is able to freeze commenting on threads in cases where our systems are detecting that there may be a thread that has hate speech or violence, sort of in the comments," Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen says in the video.

In a second video that is only 53 seconds, a Project Veritas journalist confronts Rosen about his remarks outside of his home. 

"When you talk about freezing comments containing hate speech, what do you mean by that?" the website's journalist standing on the sidewalk asks Rosen as he walks inside. "How do you define 'hate speech?' Is it just speech that you hate?" he continues in the short clip. 

Rosen's house numbers are visible in the video, but the street name is not. License plates on all of the vehicles appearing in the video were blurred. 

On Thursday, O'Keefe told Politico.com in an emailed statement that Twitter's claim of Project Veritas publishing private information is false. 

"Late last night, Twitter locked Project Veritas's and my Twitter accounts, claiming we violated Twitter Guidelines by posting a video of our journalists asking questions of Facebook's Vice President Guy Rosen which Rosen refused to answer," he said in the statement. "Twitter claimed the video published private information, which is false. Twitter invited Project Veritas to, and we did, appeal that decision with Twitter. In an apparent act of retaliation for daring to question their authority, Twitter responded to our appeal by suspending our account, continuing to tell us that Project Veritas could delete the tweet and have our account reinstated."

During a telephone interview with The Wrap, O'Keefe said he's "wrestling" with the decision to delete the tweets in order to get the accounts running again.

O'Keefe told the news website that he's confused by Twitter's actions. 

"What I'm trying to understand is, what about what we did is quote 'posting private information'?" O'Keefe asked.

The video in question can still be seen on Project Veritas' YouTube channel. 

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