Thomas Gallatin / May 8, 2019

No Making Fun of Leftists: Twitter Bans AOC Parody Account

Yet parody accounts mocking Donald Trump are given free rein by the social-media giant.

In the latest episode in the Left’s increasing suppression of free speech, Twitter on Monday suddenly banned a popular Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez parody account known as AOC Press. The satire account, which poked fun at the leftist representative, had swollen to over 85,000 followers and was a favorite for our own Short Cuts features at the point of its permanent suspension. The question everyone asked following the ban was why it happened, since AOC Press had been in full compliance with Twitter’s service rules. Given her poor handling of criticism, it’s not unthinkable that AOC herself complained.

Twitter dubiously claimed the reason behind the ban was its rule on fake accounts: “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.” A section of rules was also highlighted noting that a user cannot “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 rules require all parody accounts to indicate “non-affiliation” in both the account name and bio — rules AOC Press followed.

The individual who created the AOC parody account, Mike Morrison, also had his personal Twitter account permanently removed. Morrison argues the reason behind the ban was purely political: “I think Twitter banned AOC Press for the increasing amounts of attention it’s been receiving lately. 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. They didn’t like how popular an account created by their political opposition had become.”

It’s difficult to argue against Morrison’s conclusion, as Twitter has clearly not applied the same standard to several other accounts that parody President Donald Trump. Parody account Donald J. Drumpf, for example, tweeted, “Many people, including 370 former federal prosecutors, are saying I’m guilty of obstruction. But my hand-picked Attorney General says I’m above the law so #BothSides! #Winning.”

Regarding social media in general, National Review’s David French astutely observes, “Hate-speech policies exist not as easily interpreted, uniformly applied rules that provide all users fair notice of the conditions for using the platforms, but rather as subjectively interpreted, selectively applied weapons to wield on behalf of favored ideas and individuals. The result is that some people are more exposed to abuse than others because those people are deemed less worthy of protection.”

(Edited.)

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