India’s government has had a bone or two to pick with Twitter this week, but the company may have irked legislators a little more after mistakenly suspending a minister’s account.
Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Milind Deora spent some of Thursday defending the government against accusations it was censoring voices online, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, in seemingly attempting to suspend an account parodying Deora, Twitter shut down the minister’s own account.
It is not quite clear why his account was suspended (Twitter’s policy is not to comment on individual accounts for privacy reasons), though users are speculating wildly over the reasoning.
“Ah! I know what happened. Milind Deora sent Twitter a list of people to banned and signed his name under it,” suggested Ramesh Srivats.
The handle of the parody account in question, @milindeora, is similar to that of Deora’s: @milinddeora. Twitter’s rules on parody and impersonation state that users must make it abundantly clear that an account is a spoof. While the parody account’s bio states that it is a “Fictional MP of South Mumbai,” that may not be enough to make it clear that the account was created to poke fun at Deora.
Indian officials asked Twitter earlier this week to shut down accounts which spoofed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. While Twitter did not comply at first (claiming that the government did not go through the proper channels for such requests), it has since shut down six accounts.
The account parodying Deora has not been updated in a year, so it seems that the apparent attempt to have it shut down is part of an attempted mass purge of such parody accounts when taking into account the Singh spoofs.
"Ironically, let me clarify on Twitter that there is absolutely no intent of the government to curb freedom of social media platforms," the real Deora tweeted, upon having his account restored.
It’s not the first time in recent memory that Twitter has shut down a real person’s account over complaints of spoofing, as Deadline editor Nikki Finke found out.
Photo via YouTube