Twitter has removed the account of British conspiracy theorist David Icke after he violated the platform’s rules on coronavirus misinformation.
Press Gazette’s ‘Cash for conspiracies’ investigation told in June how Icke had a ‘verified’ Twitter account despite regularly promoting wild and unproven claims about Covid-19. We also revealed how a large portion of Icke’s personal website’s traffic was coming from Twitter.
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Twitter has acted around six months after both Facebook and Youtube removed official accounts for Icke as his theories gained traction in the early days of the pandemic.
The Center for Countering Digital Hate, which has been campaigning for Icke to be deplatformed by all major social media sites, said: “David Icke has finally been removed from Twitter, following Facebook and Youtube earlier this year.”
The group said Twitter had allowed the 68-year-old to spread “dangerous Covid misinformation for months”, which included a discredited theory that the virus is linked to the 5G mobile network.
CCDH had called for Twitter and Instagram, the latter of which is owned by Facebook, to permanently ban the former football goalkeeper and his content from their platforms.
Countdown presenter Rachel Riley celebrated Icke’s departure from the popular website, tweeting: “The UK’s foremost hate peddler/conspiracy grifter has finally been chucked off Twitter.”
Icke’s Instagram page, which has 212,000 followers, is still active and posted a video on the weekend of him telling a large crowd in Birmingham to “choose freedom”. The video has been viewed more than 85,000 times.
Press Gazette’s Fight the Infodemic campaign aims to stop key platforms like from promoting misinformation about vital issues like Covid-19 and instead favour evidence-based journalism from bona fide outlets.