Twitter has removed the verified checkmarks of several high-profile users after they tweeted reports that former US President Barack Obama conducted illegal surveillance on US citizens, including associates to now-President Donald Trump and journalists investigating his administration.
The purge includes Rudy Takala, a journalist for Mediaite who tweeted his column about the Obama administration’s alleged surveillance on journalists. Takala tweeted:
“I tweeted this column about the Obama administration spying on journalists at 5:47 Thursday. Around an hour later, my verification badge magically disappeared.”
In the column, Takala details how Sharyl Atkisson, formerly an investigative journalist at CBS, alleged that the Department of Justice under Obama spied on her between 2013 and 2014. She is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the DOJ and recently moved to reopen the case, which was previously dismissed, after a whistleblower came through with information embroiling former US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Breitbart reports that other high profile users also lost their verified checkmarks, including podcast host Josh Lekach, who interviewed Laura Loomer on his platform. Laura Loomer has been persona non grata at Twitter headquarters after she handcuffed herself to the office doors in protest of her account suspension.
Loomer is currently suing Twitter and other tech companies, including Facebook, for deplatforming her. Loomer, who is running for Congress in Florida, alleges that companies like Twitter are engaging in politically motivated censorship against conservatives.
Doriano Carta, a journalist formerly at Mashable and an openly conservative app developer, also lost his verification badge. It is unknown what he did to lose his blue checkmark privileges.
Last month, Eli Schiff, a conservative San Francisco-based designer and the proprietor of the @HumansofFlat design critique account, had his blue checkmark removed and was banned from Twitter following a concerted effort to deplatform him by progressives in the graphic design community. His crime was to complain about foreign-language speakers forced to work dehumanizing jobs in the city—which his detractors claimed was “racist.”