In brief

  • Messari’s founder Ryan Selkis said he’s been shadow banned from Twitter for his takes on the coronavirus.
  • Twitter has been clamping down on coronavirus fake news.
  • Selkis must earn the coveted “blue tick” to have his powers reinstated.

The founder and CEO of crypto data provider Messari, Ryan Selkis, said on Friday that his personal and business Twitter accounts have been shadowbanned and restricted for his coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Selkis said that his company is “facing never-before-seen mass reporting of all major business and personal accounts over the past 48 hours” for its coverage of the coronavirus. 

Messari runs a tracker for COVID-19, and Selkis has tweeted updates about the coronavirus to his followers for months. (Selkis acknowledges he is “not a doctor/expert” on the topic).

A spokesperson for Messari told Decrypt that its engagement and reach have dropped significantly due to the restrictions. “We're active on YouTube, Telegram and Reddit, but Twitter is our bread and butter—as it is for many crypto companies,” they said.

Only Selkis’s followers can see his tweets, claimed Messari in a tweet yesterday. For everyone else, “This Tweet is unavailable.” 

“A killer for engagement,” the spokesperson told Decrypt.

Lockdown 

Decrypt reached out to Twitter for comment about why Selkis's and Messari's accounts are restricted and will update this story accordingly. 

Selkis’s shadowban could stem from Twitter’s announcement this week that it would broadly ban users who disseminate false information about the coronavirus.

Late on Friday night, Twitter announced they would be working to verify Twitter accounts “that are providing credible updates around #COVID19.” Granting Selkis the prized blue tick could get him back online. 

However, Twitter has been cracking down on crypto bloggers’ coronavirus coverage for months. 

Zero Hedge, a financial news site that frequently posts about crypto, was suspended from Twitter at the end of January after a reporter at Buzzfeed called out the website for doxxing a Chinese scientist and spreading misinformation in a post that questioned the origins of the coronavirus. 

It had 670,000 followers at the time of its suspension, according to Reuters. The account is still suspended.

And Twitter took down several tweets of prominent posters like software magnate John McAfee and the former Sheriff of Milwaukee county, David A. Clarke, “to protect the public conversation around Covid-19.”

In a document sent to Decrypt, Messari said that Twitter does not have a resolution process for accounts that are excessively reported. 

Messari and Selkis said they hope decentralized options emerge that avoid censorship.

“Until that happens, the only option we’re left with is chirping at TwitterSupport to get their shit together. Not ideal,” they added.