Connecticut Republicans Set Up Fake Democratic Accounts

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Twitter, Inc., has shut down 33 fake Twitter accounts created by Republicans using the names of Democratic state representatives, but fake websites using the Democrats' names are still up.

The story was reported in the Hartford Advocate, an alternative newsweekly.

State Republican Chairman Chris Healy told the paper that it was the Connecticut Republicans' idea.

Twitter announced earlier this year that it planned to verify the accounts of people such as public officials, after several cases of Twitter impersonations.

According to the paper, a Democratic legislative leader reported the accounts to Twitter, which replied, "A person may not impersonate others through the Twitter service in a manner that does or is intended to mislead, confuse or deceive others. ... Impersonation is against our terms unless it is a parody. The standard for defining parody is, 'Would a reasonable person be aware that it's a joke?' Because this is not the case in your situation, we have removed the profile(s) from circulation."

Healy criticized the Democrats' response as "stopping free speech."

The fake web sites all use the same theme and basic design, and note at the bottom that they were "Paid for and Authorized by the Connecticut Republican Party, Jerry Labriola Jr. Treasurer." They are called "Meet Matt Lesser," "Meet Joe Aresimowicz," and so on, with the names of the 33 Democratic legislators.

The sites, as well as other articles about the issue, can be found with this web search.