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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Twitter Shuts Down Connecticut GOP

Every piece of online technology — from YouTube to Facebook to Twitter — comes with a set of legal disclaimers outlining the application’s “terms of use.”
Twitter, in particular, is very clear about using their service to impersonate another individual. Parodies are OK, but only if a reasonable person can recognize that your Tweets are satire.
Which is why the Republican Party of Connecticut got in so much trouble last week :

Twitter, Inc., shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives. The Republican scheme was to send out posts under the Democrats’ names.

There are lots of valuable ways in which Twitter can be used in political communication, and there’s no doubt that we’ve only just begun to see the new directions to which campaigns and candidates take this service as they innovate.
But reading and understanding terms of use has to be a basic threshold for utilizing any Internet tool. That’s just as true for individuals as it is for political parties.
Which makes the Republican response to the Twitter take-down all the more ridiculous:

“That’s unfortunate,” was state Republican Chairman Chris Healy’s response when told of Twitter, Inc.’s decision. “I’m not quite sure what the issue is, other than that the Democrats were successful in stopping free speech.”

Again, Twitter’s rule about impersonation is simple and short enough to be written as a Tweet:

You may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse, or deceive others.

When you’re unclear about an issue as transparent and indefensible as this, perhaps it’s best if you step away from the Internet.
[Crossposted from DLCC.org]

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