Is operating a social media account in the likeness and purported voice of a public official “parody” or “impersonation?”

Is there a reasonable limit on this behaviour that is, at best, “trolling” or, at worst, intentionally perpetuating libelous misinformation?

The recent proliferation of Twitter profiles bearing misspelled federal cabinet ministers’ names and using their official portraits has caused confusion among more casual users of the social media platform. Take, for example, several dubious accounts — from @CatheeMcKennnna to @CathrynnMcKenna — dedicated to mimicking the real Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna (@CathMckenna).

There are some accounts that are clearly satire. Others gleefully blur the lines between parody and misinformation.

Parody accounts should a) be obvious in the handle b) not use the actual photo of the subject of the parody c) be funny. The latest influx are all 0/3. #cdnpoli

— WillMurray (@Will__Murray) July 9, 2018

The defence of these accounts was framed well by Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney’s spokesperson: “Satire can and has been a valid form of political commentary.”

Freedom of speech?

True, it is “free speech” to proliferate accounts that portend to be ministers with a “parody” disclaimer — even if they shamefully mock their name — but it is still the wrong track to be on.

Defending so-called “parody” accounts has become a disturbing pet project of online conservatives in recent weeks, giving rise to an entire #ParodyCabinet.

The usual definition of “parody” includes humour or comic. A good parody Twitter account is funny. So it seems like there’s a lot of bad ones out there. Tip: if you don’t have a sense of humour don’t try parody.

— Greg MacEachern (@gmacofglebe) July 8, 2018

We weren’t lacking in vitriol in politics before. …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – Canada Music


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