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Four Twitter parody accounts of France's Sarkozy suspended

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With less than two months until the French presidential election, it appears as though President Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign has been working overtime to get his Twitter parody accounts suspended.

Since the 57-year-old president officially joined the microblogging site Wednesday, four different parody accounts, including @mafranceforte, @fortefrance, @SarkozyCaSuffit, have been removed. Internet Without Borders, a French organization, warned about the potential implications of the move.

“This obvious censorship, operated by the largest microbloging social network a few hours after an official account of Nicolas Sarkozy was created, worries Internet Without Borders and the community of online freedom of expression in France. … The creation of an official account of Nicolas Sarkozy on this space should in no way mean killing all of Twitter accounts that criticize, or parody the campaign or the person of President of the Republic.”

The most prominent account to be suspended, @_nicolassarkozy, was run by online news organization kaboul.fr for more than a year without issue. Kaboul.fr also claims that the account made it clear in its profile that it was a parody and that its tweets were humorous—not political.

In a message to Twitter, kaboul.fr denounced the suspension as “strictly a case of staggering political censorship.”

However, according to Twitter’s parody guidelines, an account must identify itself as a parody in its profile and must have words like “not,” “fake,” or “fan” in its name, which is something @_nicolassarkozy failed to do.

That violation of terms previously applied to parody accounts impersonating Frito Lays and Myspace cofounder Tom Anderson, both of which were shut down earlier this year after impersonation reports were submitted.

Photo by World Economic Forum