A parody account of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), commonly referred to AOC, is fooling users and stirring up drama on Twitter.
The account, which has racked up more than 250,000 followers, uses the handle @AOCpress and is verified through Twitter Blue. Originally suspended in 2019, the account was allowed back after Twitter was purchased by billionaire Elon Musk late last year.
Although it is clearly stated to be a parody in the account’s name—”Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Press Release (parody)”—the long title is cut short on Twitter’s feed, causing many users to assume that the account is real.
Earlier this month, the account began receiving more attention than ever after obtaining verification through Musk’s new process. Since then, tweets from @AOCpress, which mock the congresswoman for her progressive positions, have received thousands of shares.
The account received an even larger boost after receiving attention from Musk, who regularly replies to satirical tweets from right-wing users.
One tweet to garner significant traction was made last week when @AOCpress claimed to have a crush on Musk.
Supporters of the account argue that it has not violated the company’s policies while critics say that Musk is selective with who he allows to be mocked. Although the tweet in question initially was hit with a Community Notes label outlining its parody status, the label appears to have been removed.
AOC herself eventually addressed the account and its revival in response to its widespread attention.
“FYI there’s a fake account on here impersonating me and going viral. The Twitter CEO has engaged it, boosting visibility,” she said. “It is releasing false policy statements and gaining spread. I am assessing with my team how to move forward. In the meantime, be careful of what you see.”
While many more are now aware of the account’s validity, or lack thereof, AOC’s remarks have done little to stop the trolling.
The parody account used the opportunity to further mock AOC in a series of tweets.
“I can’t believe someone would do that to us,” the fake parody account responded to AOC’s complaint.
“After brainstorming with my staff – I’m going to push Congress to make it illegal to joke, laugh, or make fun of me. Parody should be illegal,” the account added.
AOC’s reply also led to an influx of memes showcasing both the congresswoman and the parody account.
Despite AOC’s concerns, it appears the parody account will remain on the platform, at least for now.