Parodying Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t earn you an award, but it will get you banned on Twitter.
That was the experience of an account that was shut down recently, despite complying with Twitter’s satire rules.
Twitter banned @AOCPress, a satire of Ocasio-Cortez that reportedly had over 85,000 followers, and permanently removed the account claiming that: “you may not register or create fake and misleading accounts.”
Twitter permits users to create parodies along with fan accounts and commentary. They must indicate that they are not affiliated with the subject of their parody in their name and bio, which @AOCPress did.
Mike Morrison, the man behind the account, thinks Twitter aimed to slow down the traction he was gaining lately. His personal Twitter account was permanently suspended as well.
Given that @realdonaldbtrump and @KellyAnneParody accounts are up and running, it’s hard to understand why a parody of AOC alone was booted off, if in compliance unless for political reasons.
Why does AOC get treated with kid gloves? If it’s acceptable to Twitter to parody the president and a presidential advisor than it should be acceptable to parody AOC, especially when they have a good reason.
AOC is known to weigh in on the economy, the environment, and politics with head-scratching, inaccurate, and uninformed opinions. There’s nothing wrong with a self-described parody account highlighting her own words.
This is an issue of free speech, but also of equal treatment.
Granted, Twitter is not a government or a public square.It can set rules for who can and cannot engage on the platform. However, the company opens itself up to criticism when it claims to be a place for free speech.
Twitter says it is a platform for “users to share and receive a wide range of ideas and content.” Even more, the company claims to “greatly value and respect our users' right to expression.”
Whether the move to ban the AOC parody account was in response to pressure from liberal social media mobs or based on the political leanings of their staff who review complaints, we don’t know for certain. However, it seems very suspicious and joins other high-profile conservative accounts that have been banned without good reason.
After one episode earlier this year, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey even remarked that they were “too aggressive in banning” conservative accounts. He said they would fix the problem. Problem not fixed.
The more Twitter censors conservative viewpoints, the more their mission statement becomes just a parody.