Ed, Brian Krassenstein say Twitter suspensions forcing staff layoffs

Twitter Krassensteins
Fort Myers marketing execs boasted huge followings.

Anyone who follows President Donald Trump on Twitter has seen the names Ed and Brian Krassenstein. The prolific tweeters  built a national following trolling the commander-in-chief.

At least up until Thursday.

That’s when the massive social media platform permanently suspended the accounts of the Fort Myers-based online activists.

“Twitter won’t tell us what we did to violate the rules,” Ed Krassenstein told Florida Politics.

Now, the marketing professionals will lay off staff at Hill Reporter. The small website, which largely aggregates anti-Trump news, lists three staffers besides the Krassensteins.

Social media follows don’t generate direct revenue stream for the brothers. But the loss of the media outlet’s main portal to readers largely cripples their ability to make money.

“Our podcast didn’t generate revenue,” he said. “Hill Reporter did generate revenue, but had very little in terms of profits. Hill Reporter will have to lay off its awesome writers, who have worked their butts off. One of our writers just had a heart attack and is now being faced with cancer treatments. She’s a student and can’t even afford her rent. This is devastating to her.”

Twitter released a statement to multiple media outlets suggesting the Florida brothers violated terms of service by artificially building their online following.

“The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” Twitter said, according to The Hill. “Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”

At the time of the suspension, Ed Krassenstein boasted about 900,000 followers and Brian had another 700,000.

But Ed Krassenstein denies any funny business in building up those numbers.

“We never purchased account interactions, so we are perplexed,” he said.

“We did have multiple accounts but they were only used so we could view threatening tweets made by people who had us blocked. We didn’t use it for anything misleading or malicious, so that can’t be the reason. It’s very strange.”

Ed Krassenstein acknowledges his account originally began as a Justin Bieber fan club account — he’s not a fan but said it was part of a failed commercial endeavor. After Trump’s election, Ed Krassenstein said he used the account to criticize the new president. He changed the handle to his own name at that point.

“The account was nine years old so it was around for a while,” he said. “We followed people who were also anti Trump and replied to Trump’s tweets. It just sorta took off.”

Critics have long questioned the large following the Krassensteins both enjoy. But the marketing executives seem chiefly to have built a following in two visibly clear ways.

The two follow nearly as many people as follow them, and appear to have built an audience through follow-backs. The two accounts also would frequently be among the first to respond to most of Trump’s tweets, in turning reaching the President’s more than 60 million followers.

Since the brothers’ accounts were “permanently suspended” on Thursday, they can still log in but cannot tweet, retweet or message anyone. Other users can no longer see the feeds for either account.

Numerous accounts using the brothers’ avatars and variations off their names have popped up in the last 48 hours.

“None of them are us,” Ed Krassenstein said. “I’ve been reporting the ones I see.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Stephen

    May 25, 2019 at 12:57 pm

    Well,all in all, they should not have violated Twitter rules on multiple accounts. If one does a Google search of their email addy, you can see they were at one point trying to purchase Twitter accounts using bitcoin. So make your own judgments here.

    • Bryan

      May 27, 2019 at 11:36 pm

      Trump has purchased far more accounts than they ever have. I ran his account through Twitter audit and his account as of right now is 85% real followers while each of them are at 98% real followers and 97% real followers. And this happened just days after Jack Dorsey’s meeting with Trump. So make your own judgments here.

      • Ben

        May 28, 2019 at 7:22 pm


        Barack Obama is at 85% according to the Twitter Audit. What is the reason for that?

  • Karl Smith

    May 25, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    They keep using the defense “we were never charged with a crime.” This is like a shoplifter pleading guilty and agreeing to pay a fine instead of going to court. They paid around half a million dollars to avoid court. That’s a huge deal — very bad track record on these two scammers.

    • gary

      May 25, 2019 at 6:38 pm

      well put

  • gary

    May 25, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    These 2 clowns did nothing for society but outrage and gin up the ignoran yoyo’s that followed them! I hope the go broke and end up destitute! Big fat razberry to both of them!

  • Karen

    May 25, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    These two low lifes need to go get a real job and stop making $$$ from the anger & misery they cause!

    • jde

      May 27, 2019 at 8:17 pm

      You’ve just described Trump.

  • Randy Graver

    May 25, 2019 at 7:11 pm

    Thank God, I am so sick of these two trolls, talk about a couple guys that look like Russian agents. Hope you lose your entire bought following and gother broke.

  • Moviewhore

    May 25, 2019 at 11:59 pm

    Guess they’ll have to find proper jobs now.

  • Debbie Brent

    May 26, 2019 at 10:39 am

    I believe them! The only reason I bother with FB at all is to continue to Follow them! Is this still a country FOR Free Speech? Or is Trump going to dictate what we can or cannot see? What’s happening to them is a farce and Constitutionally forbidden. Where’s the proof they’ve been asking for? This is fowl-play! A total smear campaign!

    • gary

      May 26, 2019 at 4:05 pm

      I find this so funny! We conservatives have been screaming about Twitter and FB banning us ever since Trump took office and all the while you lefty’s had nothing to say about our 2nd Amendment. Shoes on the other foot, oh my God it’s Trump’s fault! Bananas!

      • Linda P

        May 26, 2019 at 6:15 pm

        If you are among those who post racist rants or reject finding a valid way to save the lives of children when they attend school, then you are the one who is bananas. The only accounts suspended prior were those posting proven FALSE stories. Suck it up, Buttercup, you have nothing to be complaining about but some of us do have valid reasons.

  • Jers gal

    May 26, 2019 at 10:52 am

    Isn’t it ironic that the two brothers are suspended while Trump, who targets, bullies and harasses others, almost daily, is allowed to persist.

    • gary

      May 26, 2019 at 4:09 pm

      Do you know why? I will tell you why, because prior to Trump taking office Twitter was looking for investors, they were literally going broke at a fast pace. Trump takes office…. Boom! Millions of Trump followers and detractors join Twitter! Simple capitalism! I know, hard concept for Democrats to wrap their little brains around! Fact!

      • Linda P

        May 26, 2019 at 6:18 pm

        As if that is a good thing.

  • Florida Man

    May 28, 2019 at 6:50 pm

    Krassenstein purchased bots to like and retweet their twitter posts enough to make Krassensteins more visible among the first responses on Trump twitter.

    Krassensteins are literally the botnet RussiaGate was flooding news and internet about for the past three years. .

    Now anyone whose twitter timeline consists mainly of calling others “Russian angents” or “Russian bots” now can be referred to a Krassenstein bot.

Comments are closed.


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