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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Twitter Suspended Satire Account

Twitter has agreed to please the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, also known as LOCOG, and shut down the @spacehijackers account. The latter describes themselves as an activist group using spoof and satire to ridicule the authorities and large corporations. A while ago, they targeted the world’s largest arms fair – DSEi – Nike, and now switched to the Olympics.

Space Hijackers have declared themselves the official protest group of the Olympics and altered the official Olympics logo so that it displayed black and red, which are the traditional colours of anarchism. It looks like this caused the ire of the committee dedicated to serving the interests of the Olympics’ corporate sponsors.

The holder of @spacehijackers has received a letter from Twitter saying that the service had received reports from the trademark holder that the mentioned account was using a trademark in confusing or misleading way. That’s why @spacehijackers has been temporarily suspended because of the violation of Twitter’s trademark policy. However, Twitter clarified that the suspension was temporary and said that if the account holder had created a brand commentary, fan or news feed account, they would have to edit it to comply with the company’s best practices before getting their account reactivated.

In response, the Hijackers listed the reason they were protesting the Olympics and dismissed the accusations of trademark infringement. They also described their surprise over the speed their account was shut down, because it was just a parody, and there was no chance of them being confused with the any regulatory authority. Actually, their name itself (Official Protesters of London 2012 Olympics) points to the parody at every stage. That’s why the group was so shocked and saddened that Twitter, who so vociferously supported the Arab spring, was so fast to curtail the freedom of speech after being approached by a large corporate interest.

Meanwhile, Twitter refused to comment on individual account suspensions, and London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games also hasn’t replied to the press questions. Fortunately, the Space Hijackers account was back soon, and their first tweet on return was: "Please understand that your account is subject to permanent suspension if it is found to further violate our Rules regarding impersonation". 

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