Tweet This: Arizona Bill Could Make Twitter Parody Accounts Illegal
Arizona's state motto is Ditat Deus, which is Latin for "God Enriches." On Twitter, one of God's many parody accounts, @TheTweetofGod, provides a variety of funny,enriching tweets on a daily basis. I love the virtual deity's entrenched sarcasm, but under a bill before the Arizona legislature, the owner of @TweetofGod might have to shutter his Twitter account soon.
Arizona's law is similar in nature to those passed already by neighbors California and Texas, as well as all all the way over in New York, and is simply meant to keep someone from creating a fake account with the purpose of "malicious intent".
I'll keep in mind that @TheTweetofGod is also a publisher-based account in support of a book for sale — although there are at least two parody accounts of the parody account - one with over 1,500 followers already. Will the publisher account go after the other parodies?
The problem with these laws, including the one in Arizona brought forth by Republican Michelle Ugenti, is that there really isn't a well-defined statement with regard to "malicious intent", to go along with. So parody account holders can expect a host of lawsuits against them from Arizonans, regardless of where the account was created. The result could be that most who would love to express themselves via a Twitter parody account might think otherwise, effectively dampening one form of social-based freedom of speech.
I've never had a problem with politicians, including those from Arizona, taking to Twitter in the months leading up to election season and becoming larger-than-reality stuffed-shirt parodies of themselves. Should we pass a law shuttering their social networking accounts six months before election day, only to open it after the concession speeches, confetti and hard feelings subsides?Continued on the next page