#Twitter Shuts Down Fake #Politician Accounts

September 28, 2012
Twitter has shut down a number of accounts registered in the names of many elected officials in Charleston, West Virginia, as well as operatives of the Republican party, just a few weeks before the election. The accounts of Attorney General Darrell McGraw as well as Senator Walt Helmick were suspended. McGraw is currently aiming to serve his sixth term, while Helmick is campaigning for the position of agricultural commissioner. Both Democrats indicated that the Twitter accounts under their names were not authorized and requested for its closure. Other accounts with complaints include those of Troy Andes, Roman Stauffer and Greg Thomas. Twitter immediately responded by shutting these down, in accordance with its own rules stating that impersonating others with the intent to deceive or confuse is prohibited. The fake account of McGraw already had a few tweets and only 10 followers. The tweets, however, were against the Democratic Party. Derek Scarbro was the one who immediately notified the micro-blogging website about the accounts and how these can jeopardize their campaigns. Scarbro, Democrat executive director of state, described the messages as 'salacious and derogatory'. Many could easily indicate that the messages were only meant to put the politicians in false light. Twitter continued to deactivate accounts that were recognized and proven fakes, such as those of Mary Fallin, Governor of Oklahoma, and Angus King, Governor of Maine. Twitter did not comment on the moves. Twitter continues to play a very important role in boosting the reputation and credibility of political campaigns in various parts of the United States. Social media has been used widely by promoters and campaigners and offers a very efficient and fast way of communicating with the target audience. Twitter also has an impersonation policy that strictly discourages individuals from making fake accounts. The website can either shut these down upon confirmation or authorities can also charge unscrupulous individuals for libelous remarks and perceived threats.  

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