Arizona is trying to ruin Twitter

Say goodbye to @PaulRyanGosling! An Arizona lawmaker wants to ban Twitter parody accounts

By Katie McDonough

Published January 3, 2013 5:56PM (EST)


OMG, you guys! It's a Twitter emergency! If Tea Party darling and Arizona House Republican Michelle Ugenti has her way, you can say TTYL to parody accounts like @SilentJimLehrer and @HologramTupac.

I know. It's awful.

Proposed House Bill 2004 would outlaw online impersonation without permission and make it a felony to create a website or profile in someone else's name with the intention to "harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten." Supporters say it will help stop online bullying. Critics argue that it could violate the First Amendment and (more important, duh) effectively end the national pastime of creating faux Twitter accounts to provide meta-commentary on the ups and downs of our public figures!

"The problem with this, and other online impersonation bills, is the potential that they could be used to go after parody or social commentary activities," Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney Kurt Opsahl told the Arizona Republic. "While this bill is written to limit 'intent to harm,' if that is construed broadly, there could be First Amendment problems."

Rep. Ugenti is insistent that the bill won't impact parodies, claiming it "has a high standard. It's the impersonation without the individual's consent and with the intent to harm, defraud, intimidate and threaten."

And for those curious: Ugenti's Twitter is the real deal. No parodies have popped up. Yet.

h/t The Daily Dot



Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

MORE FROM Katie McDonoughFOLLOW kmcdonovgh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Arizona Internet Security Online Freedom Twitter