The Krassenstein brothers ― those two guys you always see in the comments under President Donald Trump’s tweets ― were banned from Twitter on Thursday over their apparent use of fake accounts to boost their popularity.
Ed and Brian Krassenstein, two of so-called #Resistance Twitter’s loudest and most obnoxious anti-Trump voices, broke Twitter’s rules about operating fake accounts and buying fake followers, the Daily Beast reported.
The pair built an entire career off of replying quickly and consistently to Trump and his allies, amassing more than 1.6 million followers between them as well as internet celebrity, using impassioned political catchphrases like “BOOM” and “TRUTH.” They also released a bizarre children’s book about their favorite politician ― titled How The People Trumped Ronald Plump ― which included a drawing of a shirtless, musclebound special counsel Robert Mueller that is panned to this day.
Twitter’s statement to the Daily Beast didn’t make clear how the brothers broke the rules or how many fake accounts they may have been operating.
“The Twitter Rules apply to everyone,” the statement read. “Operating multiple fake accounts and purchasing account interactions are strictly prohibited. Engaging in these behaviors will result in permanent suspension from the service.”
The Krassensteins responded with a statement of their own, claiming that they operated secondary accounts to monitor death threats against them.
“None of those accounts were ever used for manipulative purposes as Twitter claims,” the Krassensteins said.
The pair has long been accused of using shady methods online to bolster their popularity, as well as their other business ventures. In 2016, federal agents bust down their door and seized computers and other from their home, after they were accused of running websites that propped up financial scams, according to a Daily Beast report. They weren’t charged with any crimes, though in 2017, law enforcement reportedly seized nearly half a million dollars from the brothers that prosecutors allege was raised off wire fraud. The brothers maintain their innocence.
As the news broke Thursday night, the rest of Twitter was mourning (read: dunking on) the Krassenloss.
NBC News’ Ben Collins was Krassendevastated.
No matter how you feel about them, their truly Orwellian banishment is a stark reminder of the chilling effect that banning the Krassenstein brothers will have on free spe lol had you for a second
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) May 24, 2019
“Lol had you for a second,” Collins said.
The Young Turks’ Ken Klippenstein, who is often mistaken online as the third Krassenstein brother, didn’t immediately respond to calls for comment from HuffPost. However presidential hopeful Mike Gravel’s camp offered their condolences for his loss.
@kenklippenstein we stand with you in this trying time
— Mike Gravel (@MikeGravel) May 24, 2019
Klippenstein appeared to be mourning the loss in his own way, changing his profile picture at one point to read, “Krassenstrong.”
After this story published, he reached out to HuffPost to provide comment on the loss, echoing a sentiment he’d shared to Twitter on Thursday night: “Ladies, I shouldn’t be alone right now,” he said.
Starting a gofundme to help cope with my survivor’s guilt
— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) May 24, 2019
The krassenwall has fallen the long night is here
— Justin Horwitz (@Progressive_Pol) May 24, 2019
Other Krassenmourners were sharing their favorite Krassentweets over the years.
people love to "mock" and "jeer" but when have any of you ever produced a tweet this perfect pic.twitter.com/15otK4kUDl
— Ashley Feinberg (@ashleyfeinberg) May 24, 2019
— kate bush stan account (@ashcech) May 24, 2019
RIP Krassensteins. Very glad, for posterity’s sake, that I saved one of the last things either of them ever posted: pic.twitter.com/oCakMglcmE
— Miles Klee (@MilesKlee) May 24, 2019
This story has been updated with a comment from Ken Klippenstein.