parody is not a laughing matter @PM0india @PMOindia #GOIblocks part 2

bonus round : twitter’s own terms

Most web services contain a standard form contract which has to be compulsorily agreed to by a User before the User can utilise the services which are offered. This bilateral contract may be contained in distinct documents commonly split between a terms of service and a privacy policy. Moreover they may references to additional documents such as best practice guides which due to such a reference become incorporated and binding on the user.

Now even though such contracts are bilateral they do contain specific clauses that create third party rights against the Users and allow third parties to approach the web service. This is commonly due to statutory provisions which create specific obligations which have to be complied by the web service. A popular example of this is the DMCA compliance which is done by online platforms which facilitate sharing of user generated content.

In Twitter’s case, its terms of service make reference to an evolving set of best practices which are called “twitter rules” which clearly prohibits impersonation. This is further elaborated in two distinct best practice guides one each for impersonation and then parody, satire and fan accounts.

Firstly, the impersonation policy provides third parties with rights to approach twitter if any user is operating an account which confuses or deceives. It also prescribes a complaint person to such a third party. However it at the same time prominently states that an account will not be removed if,

  • the user shares your name but has no other commonalities, or
  • the profile clearly states it is not affiliated with or connected to any similarly-named individuals

The impersonation policy to further detail this makes a reference to Twitter’s Parody Policy. I qouting key parts of the Parody Policy below:

In order to avoid impersonation, an account’s profile information should make it clear that the creator of the account is not actually the same person or entity as the subject of the parody/commentary. Here are some suggestions for marking your account:

  • Username: The username should not be the exact name of the subject of the parody, commentary, or fandom; to make it clearer, you should distinguish the account with a qualifier such as “not,” “fake,” or “fan.”Name: The profile name should not list the exact name of the subject without some other distinguishing word, such as “not,” “fake,” or “fan.”
  • Bio: The bio should include a statement to distinguish it from the real identity, such as “This is a parody,” “This is a fan page,” “Parody Account,” “Fan Account,” “Role-playing Account,” or “This is not affiliated with…”
  • Communication with other users: The account should not, through private or public communication with other users, try to deceive or mislead others about your identity. For example, if operating a fan account, do not direct message other users implying you are the actual subject (i.e., person, band, sports team, etc.) of the fan account.

Now as per the list of “suggestions” contained in the Parody Policy, lets look at the @PM0india account.

  1. Username : The username though not an exact name is very similar in appearance. Many on a first glance will not be able to differentiate between a “0” (the number zero) and a capitalized “O” (the alphabet “o”). Hence the it cannot be easily distinguished. However, the matter is not so simple. The user may justify the insertion of the zero on the basis of the “zero loss to the exchequer” argument which has been thrown around since the days of the 2G scam or he may more directly just point out that our Prime Ministers abilities cannot be rated in positive integers.
  2. Name : Prior to the block the name was the same on the parody account and the prime ministers account. @PM0india indentifi

for some reason i am facing technical issues when trying to put up the complete blog post and the server connection is being reset. I will try to fix it soon.

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