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Twitter shuts down Olympics protest account over logo

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Twitter has shut down the account of a group planning to protest this summer’s Olympic Games.

The @spacehijackers account had been active since 2007 and had roughly 2,600 followers. It’s run by anti-capitalist activists who often target large corporations.

Their latest focus is on Olympic Games, which begin July 27. Over the last fortnight, the @spacehijackers bio was changed to read: “Official Protesters™ of the London™ 2012™ Olympic™ Games™,” according to The Telegraph.

Olympic organizers did not take too kindly to that or the modified London 2012 logo that appeared as the account’s profile photo and background. With the group calling itself the “official protesters” of the games, the organizers were concerned that followers would believe the Space Hijackers were a group sanctioned by the Olympics.

Twitter’s Trust and Safety team sent an email to the Space Hijackers, saying it had received a complaint from the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games regarding its trademark image. The organizers claimed that the account was “using a trademark in a way that could be confusing or misleading with regard to a brand affiliation.”

Twitter suspended the account due to an infringement of its trademark rules.

A spokesman for the Space Hijackers said it had written to Twitter asking for the ban to be lifted.

“We were surprised that at the reaction of Twitter and the speed with which the account has been suspended,” he said. “Twitter portrays itself as a hero of free speech especially during events such as the Arab Spring.

“And yet, when a big corporate organisation gets in touch about a logo—which is clearly not tied to the official Olympics Twitter account, Twitter sides with the corporate.”

The group is targeting the Olympics because it believes the event has turned into a “big corporate party,” which many regular citizens will not be able to participate in despite the event being partly funded using taxpayers’ money. The group is recruiting for its cause using a number of Web platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter.

Plans for the protests, however, have not yet been finalized.

Photo by megoizzy