According to screenshots on the Internet Archive, Assange’s account went down sometime between 7pm and 8pm ET on Sunday. His Twitter page now shows “Sorry, that page doesn’t exist,” suggesting the account was taken down, not suspended. If an account is suspended, visitors are redirected to a “This account has been suspended” page.
The latest cached pages show @JulianAssange’s last tweet was on Dec. 22—a photo that includes his own quote, “A knowledgeable public, is an empowered public, is a free public.” Interestingly, the main Twitter account for Wikileaks, the controversial nonprofit transparency organization, is still standing. His cat’s Instagram account “embassycat” is also live but hasn’t been updated since March.
None of the accounts give any hint why Assange would leave the platform. There is a chance his account was deleted by a third party without his permission, like how @realdonaldtrump was taken down by a former Twitter employee for 11 minutes earlier this year.
Social media is flooded with speculation as to why the account was taken down. Many users have mistakenly suggested the account was suspended, while others believe Assange is preparing to make another big announcement.
#JulianAssange has been deleted off of twitter. Hey @twitter why dont you spend your time deleting ISIS twitter accounts? Or Muslim brotherhood accounts? No instead you delete the account of a person who has done nothing wrong.— THETRUMPGOD (@TRUMP__EMPEROR) December 25, 2017
Julian Assange’s twitter account has been deleted. MERRY CHRISTMAS!— Emma Kennedy (@EmmaKennedy) December 25, 2017
At the moment @JulianAssange seems to be suspended or deactivated. No idea why he would silence himself, and we all know how Twitter treats public figures who take a step too far right.— /pol/ News Network ⏳ (@PolNewsupdates) December 25, 2017
Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012. If he leaves, he will be arrested for breaching bail conditions from five years ago. He also faces extradition to the United States for publishing 750,000 classified and sensitive documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. Additionally, he faces extradition to Sweden for questioning over rape allegations, though the investigation into the charges was recently dropped.
We have reached out to Twitter and will update this article if we learn more.
Update 1:38pm CT: His Twitter account has returned, and he’s been tweeting.
The U.S. Navy also sent out a tweet on Monday morning with Assange’s name.
This morning, an inadvertent keystroke by an authorized user of the U.S. Navy Office of Information's Digitial Media Engagement Team caused the trending term "Julian Assange" to be tweeted from the Navy's official Twitter account (@USNavy). (1/2)— U.S. Navy (@USNavy) December 25, 2017
Despite some oddities from the US Navy and Twitter today and increased physical surveillance @JulianAssange's physical situation at the embassy remains unaltered--confined without charge in violation of two UN rulings requiring the UK to set him free.https://t.co/ne7cQ2Uryw— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 25, 2017