Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe recently announced his intention to sue Twitter for defamation over his suspension from the platform. O’Keefe is seeking unspecified damages from the social media giant, citing their use of deceptively edited videos and malicious campaigns against him as the basis for his claims.
This article will provide an overview of O’Keefe’s announcement and the potential legal ramifications of this lawsuit.
Background of Project Veritas
Project Veritas is a conservative nonprofit organization founded in 2010 by James O’Keefe. It dedicates itself to investigative journalism designed to “expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions”. Donations from individuals and organizations provide its funding.
Project Veritas has published several controversial investigations since its founding. It has released videos regarding the 2020 elections and Big Tech companies such as Google and Twitter in the past year. Its most recent action includes a lawsuit against Twitter after permanently suspending O’Keefe’s account on February 21st 2021.
The suspension reportedly occurred due to “repeated violations of [Twitter’s] civic integrity policy” as Project Veritas had been using their account to post ‘disputed’ claims about the 2020 election results. Additionally, after suspending O’Keefe’s account, Twitter allegedly removed thousands of his followers without warning or explanation.
Project Veritas is seeking unspecified damages for Twitter’s alleged breach of its User Agreement; however no official statement or announcement has been made regarding this matter.
Twitter’s recent suspension of O’Keefe
On June 4, 2020, the conservative activist James O’Keefe filed a lawsuit against Twitter claiming that his suspension from the social media platform was politically motivated. O’Keefe, a contributor to right-wing news outlet Project Veritas and founder of investigative group Project Veritas Action, was suspended in April 2019.
Similar lawsuits have been brought against other tech giants including Facebook for their use of algorithms and data-driven decisions which allegedly discriminate against certain political groups or activists. Such claims require an inquiry into how these companies use user data and algorithms to manipulate results or content.
Project Veritas founder wants to sue Twitter for defamation over recent suspension
Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe recently announced that he is seeking unspecified damages from Twitter for defamation over his recent suspension. O’Keefe claims that Twitter unlawfully acted to restrict his speech and thus he is taking legal action against the company.
In this article, we will look at O’Keefe’s claims in detail and discuss the implications of his lawsuit.
Defamation of character
In her lawsuit, O’Keefe claims that Twitter is actively engaging in defamation of character by allowing anonymous users to post tweets which contain false statements. O’Keefe argues that these false statements have adversely impacted her reputation, resulted in business losses and caused emotional distress.
The defamation element of the suit includes claims of libel and slander. Libel is a written statement while slander is an oral statement. Both types of defamation claim require proving the following elements:
1) that the defendant made a statement;
2) which was published or spoken to another person;
3) that the statement was false;
4) that it was an injury to O’Keefe’s reputation or character;
5) and that Twitter acted negligently or maliciously in either making the statement or failure to act after becoming aware of its truthfulness.
Twitter is also accused of aiding and abetting defamation through its alleged failure to remove defamatory posts after being notified about them. Aiding and abetting claims are generally seen as an attempt to hold an entity responsible for someone else’s unlawful acts which are foreseeable consequences of that entity’s conduct. To succeed with this claim, it must be established that:
1) Twitter knew the statements at question;
2) took affirmative action knowingly contributing to those statements’ ability remain accessible on Twitter platforms;
3) caused injury or loss as a result;
4) was negligent or reckless in failing to take measures necessary to avoid such injury or loss when they knew harm might occur as a result;
5) and actual damages occurred as a consequence.
Conservative activist James O’Keefe has filed a lawsuit against Twitter, seeking unspecified damages for the social media giant’s permanent suspension of his account in June 2020. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleging that O’Keefe’s constitutional rights were violated when Twitter shut down his account without explanation or justification. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Twitter violated O’Keefe’s First and Fifth Amendment rights, claiming that he was treated unequally compared to other Twitter users who expressed similar views but had not been penalized.
The complaint alleges that Twitter “temporarily and then permanently suspended [O’Keefe’s] account based on his opinions….without notice or an opportunity to be heard on what it alleged were violations of its rules”, and thus committed intentional interference with prospective economic advantage” by depriving him of reach to over 900,000 followers and potentially millions more willing to hear his message—the cost of which cannot be calculated.
The complaint also claims that before suspending O’Keefe’s account without explanation, Twitter had labeled several tweets he posted, which echoed popular conservative narratives, as containing “potential hate speech”. Such “arbitrary” actions violate O’Keefe’s right to a meaningful opportunity to explain himself and challenge any proclaimed violations upon which such labels may have been based.
Twitter recently suspended founder of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, after he shared a series of tweets containing false information about the coronavirus vaccine rollout. O’Keefe has now filed a lawsuit against Twitter, seeking unspecified damages from the tech giant.
In response, Twitter has released a statement regarding the suspension and the lawsuit.
Denial of defamation claims
Twitter responded to O’Keefe’s allegations and denied any wrongdoing. In its statement, Twitter said it “has not defamed, threatened or harassed the plaintiff in any way” and is “committed to protecting its users’ safety and security while promoting free expression around the world.” O’Keefe originally alleged defamation, false light claims, tortious interference with contract opportunities, business of loss of reputation, emotional distress and other causes of action against Twitter.
In response to these claims of defamation against the platform, Twitter noted in its statement that O’Keefe has failed to provide any evidence for his claims or show how the company acted wrongfully or improperly: “[O’Keefe] has provided no such evidence nor demonstrated why his articles were anything more than opinion disagreement with Twitter’s position on certain matters. Rather than engaging in public discourse about issues important to its users as it historically has done from time to time on this case.”
Twitter also clarified that it does not publish defamatory content on its platform: “Twitter does not allow for defamatory content or false statements on our platform.” In addition, the company indicated that it provides a wide array of reporting mechanisms for those who find content they believe violates these terms and policies.
Refusal to pay unspecified damages
Twitter has refused to pay unspecified damages sought by conservative activist James O’Keefe in a lawsuit claiming his rights to free speech were violated when the social media platform suspended his accounts.
In a statement, Twitter said it had reviewed the complaint and found it frivolous. “We deny all claims in Mr. O’Keefe’s lawsuit and will defend ourselves vigorously,” the company said.
Twitter also explained that its policies had always allowed users to express themselves freely on the platform, even disagreeing with or criticizing President Donald Trump as long as they didn’t use offensive language or promote hate speech – something O’Keefe was also accused of doing by Twitter.
The platform further noted that it reserves the right to suspend an account that violates its rules, and that those rules took this action. In addition, Twitter confirmed that no damage would be paid and encapsulated their stance, saying “Our commitment to freedom of expression remains unchanged”.
James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, has announced that he plans to sue Twitter for defamation due to the recent suspension of his account. Specifically, he seeks unspecified damages from the social media platform.
However, there are several legal considerations to consider before filing his lawsuit. Let’s dive into what these considerations might entail.
What constitutes defamation?
Defamation is an area of law allowing individuals to protect their reputations from untrue statements, publications, or broadcasts. Defamation can range from a statement made in casual conversation to an article published in the newspaper. When defamation occurs, the person making the allegation may be held legally liable and required to pay damages.
According to U.S. law, defamation requires a false statement that has been published and is harmful to another person or entity’s reputation or financial standing. It does not matter if the statement was made intentionally or negligently—a defamatory statement can still lead to legal liability for damages incurred by the injured party. All forms of libel and slander are considered offenses under tort law and must be proven false for someone to be liable for defamation. For a statement to constitute defamation, it must meet certain criteria:
- The statement must be false
- The accuser must know that the statement is false
- The accuser must intend to cause harm or should have reasonably known that it would result in harm
- There must be actual injury (i.e., monetary loss) caused by the alleged defamatory statement
Are damages for defamation specified or unspecified?
Regarding defamation claims, damages can come in two forms — specified and unspecified. Specified damages refer to monetary losses directly attributed to the defendant’s actions. These are commonly seen in cases of libel or slander, as they involve direct harm done to a person or their reputation through false statements made by the accused party. On the other hand, unspecified damages refer to losses caused by the defendant’s actions that cannot be tied directly to a monetary figure. This could include disproportionate stress and emotional turmoil caused by their behavior or an inability to properly care for themselves due to the psychological distress brought on by the defendant’s actions.
In this specific case, actor James O’Keefe is suing Twitter for unspecified damages over what he claims was negligent handling of his account due false accusations being leveled against him. He believes that damage was done not only financially (due to his reputation as an influencer being damaged), but also personally (in terms of emotional distress) due to these false claims – both of which he is seeking compensation for through unspecified damages.
What is the likelihood of O’Keefe’s success in court?
The likelihood of O’Keefe’s success in court will depend on several factors, including the case’s merits, the applicable law and jurisdiction, the court’s interpretation and application, and other legal factors. It is important to note that this is only a general assessment; each case must be viewed individually.
To determine whether O’Keefe has a viable legal claim against Twitter, it is necessary to look at both the facts of his case and any applicable state or federal laws that may apply. For example, determining what legal cause of action he has may depend on issues such as whether Twitter performed all duties expected under contract or was negligent in some way; whether applicable laws governing internet service providers and communications services were violated; questions regarding defamation or other related claims concerning privacy rights are also relevant. Additionally, the statutes of limitations in whichever state(s) O’Keefe brings his suit may also be considered by the court when evaluating his claim.
Ultimately, these considerations must be examined to determine if O’Keefe has a viable legal claim against Twitter for unspecified damages.
O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, claims that Twitter has unjustly suspended its accounts and is seeking unspecified damages in return. This article examined the legal case O’Keefe is making and the potential outcome of the lawsuit.
In conclusion, O’Keefe has a strong legal case against Twitter. Whether or not he will succeed in his bid is yet to be seen but it is expected that the courts will make a decision one way or another soon.