Twitter is meddling in the upcoming European elections. The social network recently banned the campaign pages of prominent UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin (a.k.a “Sargon of Akkad”) and Tommy Robinson, an adviser to UKIP leader Gerard Batten and independent candidate in the upcoming European elections in Britain.
Tommy Robinson and Carl Benjamin’s personal accounts have long since been banned from Twitter under dubious circumstances. In the case of Robinson, Twitter banned his personal account in 2018 for posting facts about migrant crime in the U.K.
Creating and using new accounts after a ban is a violation of Twitter’s policy on ban evasion, and Twitter’s stated reason for banning Benjamin’s account was a violation of that policy. However, both campaign accounts say they were run by campaign staffers, not by Robinson or Benjamin themselves.
A fan page or a campaign account should not be a violation of Twitter’s ban evasion policy — and the banning of political campaign accounts raises the question of unaccountable yet highly influential social media platforms meddling in a democratic election.
Twitter declined to comment for this article, and did not respond to a request for a clarification on the platform’s policies on political campaign pages.
Michael De La Broc, who works for Benjamin’s campaign, said that they took pains to ensure that he did not operate the account personally, in order to stay within Twitter’s rules.
“We will be taking this to the relevant electoral authorities, and if there are grounds, we will be seeking restitution via the courts for this political interference by a foreign entity in our elections,” wrote De La Broc in further tweets.