Julian Assange has apparently deleted his Twitter account, sending social media into a frenzy of conspiracy theories about the embattled WikiLeaks founder.
In the late night hours on Christmas Eve, Assange’s Twitter page suddenly went missing. There had been no warnings leading up to the abrupt deletion, and Gizmodo noted that Assange had not tweeted since Friday. Some wondered if Twitter may have shut down his page, but evidence points to Assange deleting it himself, Gizmodo added.
That has led to rampant speculation as to what may have happened to Julian Assange. He has been a popular target for conspiracy theorists, including a theory that spread last year claiming that Assange was actually dead and that someone was sending Tweets and messages on his behalf. That was cleared up when Assange gave interviews and made an appearance this year, but other conspiracy theories about the WikiLeaks founder have continued.
One ongoing theory among followers is that Assange was somehow compromised late last year when the Ecuadorian Embassy where he is staying in London suffered an internet outage. In the weeks after the outage, Assange’s Twitter seems to have taken a different tone, these theorists speculate.
But Julian Assange has also been known to feed into these conspiracy theories. After internet sleuths speculated last year that slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich may have leaked the DNC’s emails to WikiLeaks — and was then murdered for it — Assange fueled the rumors by making veiled references about Rich. Though Assange has said that WikiLeaks would never reveal the identity of the source, he hinted that Rich was the source and even offered a reward for information that led to his killer.
Some speculated that Assange was taken out by Twitter as part of the social media platform’s recent purge of inflammatory posters, many on the far right. Others believed that it was a move to silence Assange ahead of a major revelation on the part of WikiLeaks.
But to date, there is no evidence to support any of those theories, and Julian Assange himself has yet to speak up about why or how his Twitter account was deactivated.