- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 15, 2020

Bill Mitchell, a conservative pundit with a large Twitter following, was permanently suspended from the platform for violating its policies, the social media company said Saturday.

Twitter confirmed it banned the pro-Trump internet personality after his widely-followed account, @mitchellvii, abruptly vanished from the service Friday evening.

A spokesperson for Twitter told The Washington Times he was “permanently suspended for violating the Twitter Rules by using one account to evade the suspension of another account.”

Mr. Mitchell corroborated Twitter’s reasoning on Parler, a competing social media service, but while nevertheless arguing his suspension was politically motivated.

In a series of posts on Parler, Mr. Mitchell said he was originally suspended from Twitter for seven days over tweets explaining his opposition to wearing face masks as a means to mitigate the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“During this time, I tweeted a bit from a very small secondary account,” Mr. Mitchell wrote on Parler, Mediaite reported. “I was not aware this was a rule violation.”

“Regardless, to wipe out on[e] of the top Trump accounts months before the election is utterly preposterous and censorship in the extreme,” he added.

Twitter has permanently banned users for evading suspensions since at least 2018. Its rules currently states “attempting to circumvent enforcement” carries potential consequences.

More than a half-million Twitter accounts followed Mr. Mitchell’s profile before he was permanently banned Friday. It was created in 2008 and had tweeted around 180,000 times.

President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani and sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump were among Twitter users who followed Mr. Mitchell’s account prior to its suspension.

Indeed, a report released in February 2016 by MIT’s Media Lab listed Mr. Mitchell as the 26th-most influential Twitter account in terms of shaping that year’s presidential race.

More recently, a tally of the president’s Twitter activity shows he has shared or retweeted Mr. Mitchell at least 15 times since entering the White House in early 2017.

In the Parler posts, Mr. Mitchell said the original, seven-day Twitter suspension was prompted by him explaining why he believes wearing masks is “medically dangerous.”

Twitter just suspended me for opposing masks. Who knows if I’ll ever be back,” Mr. Mitchell reacted. “I’m sure their decision wasn’t political at all.”

Public health experts recommend people wear masks in public to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the potentially deadly contagious disease caused by the coronavirus. Twitter’s policy against misleading information prohibits “statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts, such as public health authorities,” according to the company.

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