Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Council told to close fake Twitter account

Yesterday I alerted Cairns Regional Council about a fake Twitter account, purporting to be official Council communication. I suggested that they take urgent action to close it down.
Council staff were surprised and said they would take immediate action. "We have contacted Twitter under their impersonation policy, and have requested it be closed down," a Council staffer said.
Twitter has become phenomenally popular as a new free social networking service. It's the the fastest-growing service on the web with 55 million monthly visits, recording a stunning growth of 1382%, above Facebook and MySpace. Known as micro-blogging, Twitter enables users to send and read other users' updates, known as tweets, of up to 140 characters in length. It's been compared as the SMS of the internet.

The illegal impersonation of someones name is a serious breach of Twitter's terms of use policy, and is equated to identity fraud. Although they allow parody accounts to exist, when there is a clear intention to defraud readers.
"Pretending to be another person or business as entertainment or in order to deceive is impersonation," Twitter states. Non-parody impersonation is a violation of the terms of service, specifically article 4 states:
  • You must not abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate or intimidate other Twitter users.
    The standard for defining parody is, "would a reasonable person be aware that it's a joke." An account may be guilty of impersonation if it confuses or misleads others—accounts with the clear INTENT to confuse or mislead will be permanently suspended.

The fake Cairns Council Twitter account is named Cairnscouncil, and uses the official Council website in it's profile link, in an attempt to fool readers:

Here's some recent posts:

  • Cairns Blog continually censors views that don't conform to the LNP lefty agenda. Twitter provides great alternative view for council staff from web

    Crybaby Michael Moore tries to shut down alternative views of Cairns Council - workers file his complaints in the dustbin. from web

    Council CEO considering joining legal actions against Cairns blogger Michael Moore. He continues to harass staff and is a malcontent.
    from Tweetie

    New unit development at Smithfield Ski Park guaranteed to be UNDER WATER during the next heavy rain event. IT'S SNO BONNEAU'S FAULT! from web

    We're planning more big rates increases to keep and expand local services. How can we cut anything? We love you all!!! from Tweetie

    Main Roads working today to "safeproof" Northern Beach roundabouts for bicyclists. Maybe the riders can now start acting smarter safer! from web

    Large number of complaints filed with CMC about under-the-table payments made to chathost John "Wig" Mackenzie during Byrne election campgn [sic] . from Tweetie

    More shopfronts look to be closing this weekend (end of month) and administrators confirm "Courthouse" bankrupt, and for sale. from web

    Gavin King also made continual lame jokes about the "make your dick big" nasal spray - it was embarrassing and disgusting, but typical. from web

    Gavin King said on Mackenzie radio show "he has memos that prove Auntie Val is a liar". He has yet to produce them, however. from web

    Council staff all interested to know--how much did the Queensland LNP pay Radio 4CA to speak to Cairns today? from Tweetie

    ABC ran a piece about Mayor Val Schoer [sic] last night. Radio bigmouth John Mackenzie under ACMA investigation for FRAUD! from Tweetie

    Mayor Val Schier kissed the ring of John MacKenzie today on 4CA. Clearly she's desperate for attention as her administration implodes.

1 comment:

Trinity Beach Twitterer said...

It all sounds like "parody" to me.