Twitter explains Sarkozy 'censorship'

Twitter has responded to criticisms that it censored users parodying the French president Nicolas Sarkozy when he opened an account on the social network on 15 February.Twitter has responded to accusations of censorship in France after it reportedly took down four user accounts for impersonating French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Twitter has responded to criticisms that it censored users parodying the French president Nicolas Sarkozy when he opened an account on the social network on 15 February.

Nicolas Sarkozy

Twitter has responded to accusations of censorship in France after it reportedly took down four user accounts for impersonating French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Image credit: Downing Street/Flickr

Digital rights group Internet Without Borders (Internet Sans Frontieres) said on Sunday that the accounts were taken down in response to a real Sarkozy account being opened. It added that they were all clear parody accounts and not an attempt to impersonate the French president.

"Speaking publicly of individual, specific cases of suspension is a breach of confidentiality and security. That said, we would like to provide this context for the recent suspensions," Twitter said in a post on its French blog.

"Parody is tolerated and encouraged on Twitter, so long as it respects not merely some, but all, of the conditions stated publicly in our parody policy. An impersonating account is suspended when it a) violates our parody policy and b) is reported by the person being impersonated," the company added.

Additionally, Twitter said it only resorts to automated suspension s for accounts which violate the spam section of the Twitter rules, and that even in this case, suspended users are "often granted" a second chance to comply with the rules.

The role of social networks, such as Twitter, for organisational and coordination purposes has been witnessed in recent world events such as the Arab Spring uprisings and London riots in 2011.

"Twitter plays an integral role in political discourse all over the world. We understand and support the critical need for citizens and politicians to engage in real-time conversations about important issues — and we would never stand in the way of that," the company said. "However, we will also protect the user experience on Twitter, which includes ensuring our policies are followed."

When ZDNet UK checked Twitter, a number of Sarkozy parody accounts were still active at the time of writing.

Newsletters

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
See All
See All