Twitter Has Suspended Pro-Trump Conspiracy Theorist Jacob Wohl For Operating Fake Accounts
The accounts appeared to be designed to specifically spread misinformation in the 2020 elections, a source familiar with Twitter's decision told BuzzFeed News.
Jacob Wohl, a pro-Trump conspiracy theorist best known for his connection to a failed attempt to discredit special counsel Robert Mueller, was suspended from Twitter on Tuesday for operating fake accounts.
The 21-year-old often tweeted false information and conspiracies to his 186,000 followers, including that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was dead or a false "birther" claim that Sen. Kamala Harris isn't eligible to be president.
On Tuesday, his account was permanently shut down for "specifically creating and operating fake accounts," a Twitter spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
A source familiar with the decision said multiple fake accounts were linked to Wohl, prompting the permanent suspension. The accounts, the source said, appeared to have been specifically designed to spread misinformation and artificially manipulate online conversations ahead of the 2020 elections.
"I'm going to do that and its 100% legal," Wohl said in a short video interview published online after he was asked about allegations that he created fake accounts to influence the 2020 election. "Twitter can ban me, that's not going to do them any good. We're going to do this. We're going to steer votes."
Wohl did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment from BuzzFeed News. But in an interview with NBC News Tuesday, Wohl admitted to operating the account @Women_4_Schultz, which championed presidential hopeful and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
“This is par for the course," he told NBC News of Twitter's decision. "We were just talking about how this was probably going to happen."
Wohl also admitted to making the fake account in his video interview.
"I guess you're not allowed to make an account that expresses Howard Schultz's positions on women's issues," he said. "I guess I'm not a woman so I can't talk about women's issues."
The suspension came on the same day USA Today published a profile on Wohl, who is quoted as saying he planned to use "online properties," including deceptive social media accounts, "to steer the left-wing votes in the primaries to what we feel are weaker candidates compared with Trump."
"is there another candidate in the race who will repair the damage that Trump has caused to our standing on the world stage?" one of the tweets from @Women_4_Schultz asked.
He also told USA Today that the accuracy of the information he spreads is "not the important part" — only that it goes far and wide.
A source familiar with Wohl's permanent ban pointed out that while parody or fan accounts are allowed on Twitter, those which intentionally seem to mislead are against the platform's rules.
After he was banned, Wohl said in the video he was "expecting this," and didn't need Twitter to make a living.
He then pointed out he was trending on the social media platform.
But despite his admission of creating the fake accounts, Wohl tried to link the suspension to his effort to try to confirm a baseless conspiracy theory about Democratic Rep. Ilham Omar.
Wohl most recently had joined fellow conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer — also recently banned from Twitter — to investigate unsubstantiated rumors about Omar married her brother. During the trip, Wohl alleged on Twitter that he and Loomer were wearing bulletproof vests and traveling with security teams during their trip out of fear for their safety.
He then promoted an upcoming press conference on the topic he was scheduling to hold Thursday.
Wohl has gained a measure of fame for dealing in misinformation before. A former writer at the Gateway Pundit, he was suspended from the publication after he was linked to allegations that a woman was offered money to falsely accuse Mueller of sexual harassment.
Wohl had tweeted in October that there was "a scandalous story" coming about the special counsel. The unsubstantiated allegation against Mueller was linked to a company called Surefire Intelligence, which listed a voicemail box that had been registered to Wohl's mother. However, Surefire Intelligence's attempt to prove the allegations flopped and the alleged accuser never came forward.