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For the third time in a month, Twitter lifted a “permanent suspension” against award-winning journalist Barrett Brown.
The ban was removed after the Daily Dot reached out for comment on Thursday. Twitter said it was issued “in error.”
A Twitter spokesperson said that while the company did not comment on individual accounts “for privacy and security reasons,” they could confirm that the “account was suspended in error” and that the decision would “be overturned.”
A permanent suspension is Twitter’s “most severe enforcement action” and, per the company’s rules, “the violator will not be allowed to create new accounts.” This is Brown’s third overturned permanent suspension in just a month.
The suspension came on Wednesday soon after a Twitter interaction with Claire Lehmann, editor of Quillette.
Lehmann accused the journalist of “harassing women in tech” in response to his public appeal for information on an individual as part of an ongoing investigation project.
Brown was informed via email notification that the rule-violating tweet, a reply to Lehmann to contextualize his appeal, contained “private information.” The tweet contained information from internal emails leaked from private intelligence firm HBGary, publicly available online since 2011, when news outlets reported on it.
This is the specific tweet that got me banned from @Twitter day after @clairlemon, who’s close to Thiel/Palantir network and writes glowing articles on him in her @Quillette, told her followers I was “harassing women in tech”. Press intervened and ban was rescinded today. https://t.co/DMQSOLy1V7— Barrett Brown (@BarrettBrown_) July 19, 2019
After Brown’s account was taken down on Wednesday, accounts belonging to his girlfriend Tess Wright and the Pursuance Project non-profit he helped found were also suspended.
In further correspondence, the Twitter spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Dot late Thursday that these accounts, too, had been banned “in error” and would be restored.
Twitter would not discuss what triggered the bans with the Daily Dot.
Brown’s suspension problems started back in June, after he launched an investigation into data firm Palantir’s role in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids targeting undocumented immigrant families.
- Why Barrett Brown burned his National Magazine Award—and what he’s planning next
- Meet the Pursuance Project, Barrett Brown’s new platform for underground democracy
- Barrett Brown reveals DOJ subpoena over payment records for Intercept column
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David Gilmour is a reporter who specializes in national politics, internet culture, and technology. He previously covered civil liberties, crime, and politics for Vice.