French Presidential Election: Twitter Justifies A Liberticidal Procedure

Internet Sans Frontières remains concerned about the suspension of several accounts unfavorable to Nicolas Sarkozy on social network Twitter. The answers provided by the company on account of suspension reasons are unclear and remain unjustified not only in terms of specific terms and conditions of the platform, but also in terms of the company's practices regarding the acceptance of parody accounts, and laws in force in France to protect the plurality of online expression.

Internet Without Borders recently reported disturbing cases of accounts suspended by the social network Twitter. We were able to obtain the response of the social network to the owner of parodic account @ _nicolassarkozy.

Screenshot of the Twitter account @BaracObama
Screenshot of the Twitter account @BaracObama
According to the network, the account violated the policy of twitter on the prevention of impersonation:

« We have received a valid report that your account, @_NicolasSarkozy, is engaged in nonparody impersonation. Although Twitter firmly believes in the freedom of expression, impersonation that misleads, confuses, or deceives others is against the Twitter Rules.  »

Yet, as we explained earlier, the account @ _NicolasSarkozy mentioned in the description of the profile that he was parodying, as proved in the archives of the account that we were able to obtain.

Screenshot of the Twitter accoun @GayObama
Screenshot of the Twitter accoun @GayObama
Twitter allows parodic accounts in its conditions of use. The reason for deleting an account that parodies a politician could be considered within the scope of an censorship operation in this time of presidential elections.

Twitter gives its own definition of second degree

The case of accounts parodying or unfavorable to Nicolas Sarkozy is singular. Thus Twitter a variable geometry design of the qualification of what is parody or what is not, putting itself in contradiction with the requirements of French law which enshrines the right of parody as consubstantial with that of freedom of expression.
In the letter of explanation sent to owner @_nicolassarkozy account, Twitter opposes strange injunctions against owners of parodic accounts:

« In particular, please review and make changes to these aspects of your profile: Account name. Once we’ve reviewed the above changes and approved your account for restoration, we will need you to change the following once your account is unsuspended: Username, Background/Avatar »


Screenshot of the suspended accout @DehorsSarkozy (Sarkozy Out)
Screenshot of the suspended accout @DehorsSarkozy (Sarkozy Out)
New accounts suspended by Twitter

On Sunday, February 19, 2012, Twitter suspended two other accounts that did not parody Nicolas Sarkozy, but were unfavorable to him:

- @DehorsSarkozy (Sarkozy out)

- @ Sarkozycestfini
(Sarkozy its over)

On Monday February 20, 2012, another account @Sarkocensure (Sarko Censorship) was suspended by Twitter.

Antonin Moulart (Translated by Julie Owono)

Lundi 20 Février 2012
Julie Owono
Head of Africa Desk @ Internet Sans Frontières En savoir plus sur cet auteur

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