A spokeswoman for Connecticut’s Democratic Party asked the Connecticut Republican Party to stop tweeting with fake Twitter accounts that impersonate Democratic state lawmakers.
The Twitter accounts have names like “MeetChrisDonovan” and “MeetRepDMerrill,” making it seem like Speaker Donovan and the Majority Leader Merrill are the ones typing the 140 character messages themselves.
Each of the 33 fake Twitter accounts set up by the Republican Party have corresponding Web sites.
“Certainly they have a right to educate voters about these Representatives’ records, but not by impersonating them and giving voters the impression they are, in fact, the Representative themselves,” Colleen Flanagan, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party said.
While Flanagan conceded all of the Web sites have official disclaimers saying they were paid for and authorized by the Connecticut Republican Party, she opined the names of the Twitter accounts may actually violate Twitter’s terms of service.
She pointed to the impersonation clause which says an account “is guilty of impersonation if it confuses or misleads others—accounts with the clear INTENT to confuse or mislead will be permanently suspended.”
Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy said the Twitter accounts have not been suspended so he doesn’t believe they do violate Twitter’s terms of service.
Rep. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, said Friday night that he was able to get Twitter to suspend the fake account set up in his name by the Republicans.
“It’s parody and humor,” Healy said in a phone interview. “It’s no secret who is behind these sites.”
“Parody impersonation accounts are allowed to exist,” Twitter’s term of service says.
“If they don’t like it, too bad,” Healy said.
“The purchase and construction of these websites and twitter accounts has been transparent and completely up front,” Healy said in a prepared statement. “We are using this technology telling the truth and if the Democrats don’t like it – too bad.”
“It would be wholly inappropriate for the Connecticut Democratic Party to set up Twitter accounts under the names, “GovLisaMoody,” “Healy4Simmons,” “JodiHeartsLinda,” or “FOIsDontCountforRell,” all of which could realistically give Connecticut voters the impression that they are actual political figures in the state,” Flanagan said.
Healy said it’s not his fault the Democratic party isn’t as “inventive or creative” as the Republican party.
In addition Healy said the Democrats have the power of incumbency and are able to get their message out through mailers and state funded web sites.
“Republicans believe the only way our lives are going to change for the better in Connecticut is for the voters to know the truth and then offer them policies and ideas that promote opportunity and reward success,” Healy said.
But Flanagan seemed to feel the way in which they were spreading that message was in bad taste.
“Obviously their efforts to beat Legislative Democrats throughout the state have been, to date, an abysmal failure based on the makeup of both the State House and Senate, but resorting to the impersonation of elected officials is extremely inappropriate,” Flanagan said.