Will the real Sarkozy please stand up? Oh, you did already.
When we learnt about Twitter’s new censorship regime we thought about China, and Burma and North Korea and other right-wing dictatorial authoritarian states like France. France?
Yes, I’m afraid so. When Generalissimo Sarkozy opened his presidential campaign he, not surprisingly, opened a supporting Twitter account. There’s nothing like talking direct to the natives – ask Ed Miliband. But while he was wandering around the Twittersphere, to his utter shock and amazement he discovered clearly illegal and dangerous threats to the French national security. So, in accordance with his duty as President of France he acted swiftly and decisively to annul this threat. He wrote a complaining letter to Twitter.
And “although Twitter firmly believes in the freedom of expression” (this is a direct quote from Twitter in case you’re not sure where it stands), Twitter rapidly suspended one and shut down three other accounts. In France. Where I think they invented something called ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité’, but have since forgotten what it means.
The problem according to El Presidente and his aides is (was – it has been suspended) that the account in question is/was misleading. Here’s Nicolas Sarkozy’s official account followed by the suspended account.
Personally, I suspect the word ‘Fake’ might be a clue. But not, obviously, according to the President’s election entourage. These tweets (courtesy of kaboul.fr translated by Google) are clearly so misleading that they could have come from the real Sarkozy.
From August 12, 2011
No growth or low, it’s still the story of my life, so do not be surprised! #Passepartout
And from September 15, 2011
It’s been super weird to be acclaimed without paying participants. #Libya
If Nicolas Sarkozy really believes that his presidential campaign will be disrupted by such satire, then he deserves to be punished by the electorate he is calling stupid. And Twitter – shame on you! And yes, as a Brit in the UK, I know I’m standing in a glass house when I talk about liberty.