Parody accounts on Twitter are supposed to be protected under the platform’s terms of service. But the company seems to forget this fact on a regular basis.
A parody account of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, @ElBloombito, was briefly suspended on Nov. 22. Rachel Figueroa, the account owner, says Twitter gave no reason for her account’s suspension. However, after journalists criticized the platform, her account was mysteriously restored.
Figueroa told The New York Post that she had appealed the account’s suspension to Twitter, who restored it. But she claims to have received no explanation. “I never got an official response from Twitter. The account just came back up,” she said.
BuzzFeed News editor Mat Honan tweeted, “A Twitter spokesperson told me that the @elbloombito suspension was due to a mistake on its end, and that the account will be back soon.”
El Bloombito is a Twitter account run by a homeschooling freelance writer in Staten Island who created the account to poke fun at Bloomberg’s poor attempts to speak Spanish in 2011. Figueroa has mocked Bloomberg’s policies in broken Spanglish. She told the Times of Israel: “I was sort of neutral in the beginning when I created El Bloombito, but after Hurricane Sandy and seeing how he handled that, seeing how he handled the recovery on Staten Island, I became increasingly less happy. Also banning things like beverages is not helpful.”
Hilariously, while Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended the account, another parody account of Ocasio-Cortez remains suspended. AOC Press was suspended, along with its owner, Mike Morrison, for “creating fake and misleading accounts.” Another conservative satire account, Titania McGrath, was suspended for seven days in September for sending an insult to another Twitter user. The suspension was not lifted or appealed, but since it was not permanent, McGrath is back online wreaking satirical havoc.
Twitter’s terms of service include a blanket protection on parody accounts. “Users are allowed to create parody, newsfeed, commentary, and fan accounts on Twitter,” read the rules. As long as it is evident that the account is a parody, it is allowed to stay up online.