The suspension of parody accounts on Twitter that make fun of Russian President Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders was undone by the social media company this week after a backlash mounted.
The accounts — @DarthPutinKGB, @SovietSergey, and @AmbYakovenkoNot, which mock Putin, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and Russian ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko — were restored by the social media site on Wednesday after a flood of criticism, the BBC reported
Twitter declined to comment on the reasons behind the initial Tuesday suspension and the subsequent reinstatement, but referred reporters to its rules requiring parody accounts to indicate that they are not affiliated with the subject.
The Putin parody account has a growing list of followers, with more than 65,000 on Thursday morning, up from about 50,000 reported at the time of the suspension. The account's profile description reads, "146% of Russians didn't elect me. @mfa_russia had me suspended as they sound more like a parody than I do."
During the suspension, a blog associated with the Twitter account appeared
to keep followers updated on the situation.
"Appeals against this kangaroo court and travesty of justice have begun and the USA’s lickspittles have indicated that a compromise is possible," the blog wrote Wednesday in a post encouraging followers "keep tweeting your support with the hashtag #NoTwitterGulagForDarthPutinKGB to remind the fascists that this will not stand."
After the reinstatement, the name displayed on the account was changed from "Vladimir Putin" to "Darth Putin," The Atlantic noted
"Big technology companies should not bow down to demands of authoritarian regimes, they are doing a huge disservice to the people," said the person behind the @SovietSergey parody account. "For example, Twitter has played a big part in revolutions — Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Ukraine. If the authorities are given control over social media, the consequences will be dire."
Among those who criticized the suspension was Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the International Business Times reported
The parody account returned from suspension Wednesday.
A popular parody account that mocks North Korea, @DPRK_News, also tweeted about the suspension.
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