Did Twitter ban fake Big Bird accounts?

Rumors of censorship abound

Topics: sesame street, Big Bird, 2012 Presidential Debates, Social Media, PBS, Twitter, Mitt Romney, Election 2012, , ,

Did Twitter ban fake Big Bird accounts? Big Bird joins the unemployment line (via Twitter user @FiredBigBird)

After Mitt Romney threatened Big Bird’s livelihood yesterday, Twitter exploded in defense of the feathery friend. Instant-sensation parody accounts such as @FiredBigBird popped up, posting doctored images of Big Bird in the unemployment line and begging.

But now questions of censorship and foul play are swirling across the Twitterverse as @FiredBigBird’s account has been suspended and unsuspended numerous times in the past 24 hours.

Twitter policy does allow for parody accounts, but impersonator accounts that might deceive other users are banned. Given that @FiredBigBird has been reinstated, it seems clear that he was not considered an impersonator of PBS’ character in any way that violated Twitter policy.

“It seems to me to be an automated thing,” @FiredBigBird told Salon, adding, “But the reaction of my followers I think is the funniest thing. They assume Romney had a hand in it … they suspect Mitt Romney is calling Twitter on Bat[man]-like red phone to have me suspended.”

Indeed, as soon as news emerged of the brief suspension, the hashtag #Birdgate started gaining traction, noting that other Big Bird parody accounts had been pushed off Twitter:



Despite conspiracy theories abounding, it is not unusual for Twitter’s algorithms to automatically block accounts that look like spam. Twitter has not returned Salon’s request for comment, but @FiredBigBird does not believe he was deliberately pushed from his perch.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>