Twitter’s decision follows similar moves by YouTube and Facebook several months ago. Mr Icke had some 382,000 followers on Twitter.
These decisions by the leading social media companies to remove Mr Icke from their platforms come after years of promoting the antisemitic commentator, much of whose website traffic is directed from social media. Despite extensive dossiers having been provided to the tech giants by Campaign Against Antisemitism in the past detailing Mr Icke’s racist claims about Jews, it has taken this long to ban him – and in each case it was not even related to antisemitism.
Instead, Mr Icke’s YouTube channel and Facebook page – and now his Twitter handle – were removed because of his misinformation campaign regarding the COVID-19 pandemic (although as part of this campaign he has also claimed that Israel was using the COVID-19 crisis to “test its technology”).
Mr Icke uses social media, his books and his stage performances to incite hatred. His preaching is so absurd that since the 1990s he has been dismissed as a crank, but because he is dismissed, there has been no major opposition to him and he has built up a following of thousands upon thousands of disciples whom he has persuaded to adamantly believe that the world is in the grip of a conspiracy run by the “Rothschild Zionists”. His repertoire includes conspiracy myths and tropes classified as antisemitic according to the International Definition of Antisemitism. Campaign Against Antisemitism has successfully persuaded some venues to pull out of hosting his events. Last month, Ofcom sanctioned the television channel London Live for airing an interview with Mr Icke on COVID-19.
Campaign Against Antisemitism will continue to press social media companies and other outlets to bar Mr Icke and other antisemites from their forums.