Twitter Permanently Suspended Nine Accounts That Had Been Promoting Pro-Trump "Audits" Of The 2020 Election
One of the accounts was the official Twitter for Arizona’s ongoing audit.
Twitter has permanently suspended eight accounts that spread former president Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and pushed for partisan “audits” to find evidence to support those falsehoods, the platform's latest suspensions directed at the audits.
Among those suspended was the official Twitter account for the ongoing, Republican-led audit in Arizona, which is being overseen by a contractor who has spread false conspiracy theories, including in a recent pro-Trump movie. The Arizona audit has been a popular tourist destination for conservative lawmakers from across the country hoping to emulate it in their home states, including several who were in Washington, DC, on Jan. 6. The official audit account had spread misinformation about the 2020 election.
Additionally, a trolly account known as @AuditWarRoom, which had also spread misinformation and attacked officials who were critical of the Arizona audit and reporters covering it, was suspended. The owner of that account, who is unknown, had recently set up five other “War Room” accounts pushing for audits in Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania as well as a separate Arizona-specific account, all of which were also suspended by the social media platform.
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Twitter said the accounts were permanently suspended for violating the Twitter rules on platform manipulation and spam. The company did not say when the suspensions took effect, but it appears that it happened on Tuesday afternoon. The Audit War Room’s Instagram account, which was still live at the time of publication, posted about the suspension at 1:30 p.m. and then directed followers to its accounts on Telegram and Gettr, two social media sites favored by the far right. Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the Audit War Room account, which screenshots its own tweets, violates its rules.
Twitter had previously suspended the account of Voices and Votes, a dark-money organization founded by OAN reporters Christina Bobb and Chanel Rion to raise money for the Arizona audit, even as Bobb reported on the audit for the network. Twitter confirmed Tuesday that the account's suspension is also permanent and resulted from violating its rules on platform manipulation and spam.
Voices and Votes’ website says it is continuing to raise money to support the Arizona audit as well as efforts to start similar audits in other Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Bobb did not respond to a request for comment on when the Voices and Votes account was suspended. Voices and Votes’ Instagram account and Bobb’s personal Twitter account, where she has also spread false information about the election, are still live. Instagram did not immediately respond to a request about the Voices and Votes account either.
The audit accounts are just one way that pro-Trump figures have continued to push the lie that the election was stolen from him. The audit in Arizona and efforts to recreate it in other states are central storylines on OAN and in other far-right media, including Gateway Pundit and former Trump strategist Steve Bannon’s podcast. The former president frequently praises the audit efforts in statements emailed to the media, and it was a central focus of his rally in Arizona last weekend.
Meanwhile, elections officials across the country are forced to combat a deluge of misinformation and blame social media, including Twitter, for its spread and making their jobs harder, according to a Brennan Center survey of elections officials published last month. Arizona’s Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, whose office was targeted by the audit’s official account, faced death threats to the extent that Republican Gov. Doug Ducey ordered protective services for her in May and, according to the Brennan Center survey, she is hardly the only election official being threatened.
This story was updated with a statement from Twitter.