Twitter is being questioned after it banned a user for doing a parody of Democrat representative. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). The social media giant permanently suspended @AOCpress for allegedly “violating Twitter rules” by ridiculing Ocasio-Cortez, whose verified Twitter handle is @AOC.
The move has come under fire from both the left and the right. There are thousands of parodies of everyone from President Trump to infamous Hollywood actors. Few are ever banned and it is unusual for Twitter to protect a freshman Congressional representative. Obsersvers see it as purely political protection.
The problem for Cortez, though, has always been people cannot tell parody from truth with her often outlandish statements on everything from banning “farting cows” to banning air travel.
“You may not register or create fake and misleading accounts. While you may use Twitter pseudonymously or as a parody, commentary or fan account, you may not use misleading account information in order to engage in spamming, abusive or disruptive behavior, including attempts to manipulate the conversations on Twitter,” Twitter said in an email to @AOCpress, according to Human Events.
Twitter also said users also cannot post duplicate content.
After Ocasio-Cortez videoed herself questioning what a garbage disposal was, parodies exploded on the internet. Here’s just one:
“You also may not ‘post duplicative or substantially similar content, replies or mentions over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account or create duplicate or substantially similar accounts,’” Twitter said. “This account will not [be] reinstated.”
The main point of contention appears to be the account’s several satirical posts that make fun of Ocasio-Cortez’s mistakes while delivering speeches to the public. The posts appear to be too similar to what the congressperson is actually like in real life, causing confusion for other Twitter users.
Twitter rules require all parodies, newsfeeds, commentaries, and fan accounts to indicate “non-affiliation” in both the account name and bio. The @AOCpress used the word “parody” in both its account name and biography.
One America News Host Jack Posobiec revealed Twitter had not only banned the parody account followed by more than 85,000 users but also a separate personal account belonging to Mike Morrison, who managed @AOCpress and himself had a following of 50,000.
“Twitter has permanently suspended @AOCPress a good-natured and clearly-marked parody account and @OfficeOfMike my close friend who managed it. This is a purge,” Posobiec said in a Twitter post dated May 6.
Former reality television celebrity Donald Trump Jr. shared Posobiec’s concerns and questioned whether this may be a form of corporate censorship.
“Why did @Twitter suspend a parody account that was is full compliance with their rules?” Trump Jr. said in a Twitter post dated May 6. “Could it possibly be because the account was mocking the left’s new icon AOC? What’s the deal here @jack? Because it sure looks like political bias.”
Morrison believes the suspension was politically motivated, saying the @AOCpress account was attracting a growing following.
“In the past month and a half alone the account grew by roughly 50,000 followers. We’ve had tweets with over 30,000 likes on them, so I think Twitter decided it was time for [the account] to go,” he told Human Events. “They didn’t like how popular an account created by their political opposition had become.”
Comedian and host Dave Rubin fears that the censoring of parodies will set a worrying precedent for the entertainment industry.
“When they go after parody we have a real problem,” Rubin said in a Twitter post dated May 6. “More censorship nonsense, now going after parody accounts and their creators. What was the violation, @jack?”
Blogger David Burge echoed this view.
“Twitter has spoken: AOC is officially beyond parody,” he said in a Twitter post dated May 7.
The suspension follows similar bans of Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to actor James Woods, activist Laura Loomer, commentator Milo Yiannopolous, and Radio Personalities Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson.