Twitter suspends accounts of Dutch Covid conspiracy theorist Willem Engel
Twitter suspended two accounts operated by Willem Engel, the coronavirus and Covid-19 vaccine skeptic and conspiracy theorist behind the organization Viruswaarheid, or “Virus Truth” in English. The company on Tuesday moved to suspend his personal account, @Willem_Engel, and that of his dance school, @dancalegria. The tweets he shared on the platform were no longer visible to the social media platform’s users.
Engel said that both of his accounts were taken down at the same time. Twitter informed him that the accounts were removed because it accused him of breaking the rules by posting “manipulative content and spam,” he claimed. “They did not give an example of his posts which violated the rules
He speculated that Twitter removed the accounts because he shared an image last week showing the house number and postal code of the home of Sigrid Kaag. She is the leader of political party D66 and took over as the country’s new finance minister on Monday.
Engel thinks that the government is partly behind the action, and he wants to initiate legal proceedings against Twitter.
The Viruswaarheid leader shared the tweet with Kaag’s personal information days after another conspiracy theorist stood in front of her home with a flaming torch yelling at the house. He was later arrested, as was a woman who streamed video of the incident live.
Engel said last week that when he shared the image, he was not calling upon people to intimidate her, nor was he trying to incite people to commit violent or threatening acts. He deleted the photo because Twitter said it would otherwise delete his account. Kaag’s political party confirmed she intends to file a complaint against Engel. It is currently being investigated on what grounds this can be done.
One of Engel's accounts was already suspended by Twitter over the summer, because of statements he made about football player Christian Eriksen, who had a cardiac arrest during the European Championship match between Denmark and Finland. Engel claimed there was a link between the on-field incident and the Covid-19 vaccines.
Engel later toned his statements down, but said he did not want to delete the tweet.
Reporting by ANP