Twitter suspends “parody” account which mocked an AAP-leaning media outlet

Janta ka Reporter is a recent media outlet launched by journalist Rifat Jawaid, which primarily curates news reports. Ever since its inception it has been plagued with criticism that it is pro-AAP although it never openly declares the same.  The portal has featured on OpIndia.com too, for the blatant misreporting and lies peddled by it very often.

In the past few weeks a new site was launched called “Junta ka Reporter”, having a similar Twitter handle. It specialised in posting satirical news items which glorified AAP, taking a pot-shot at the original Janta ka Reporter. Satire news sites are not uncommon in India, with The Unreal Times and Faking News being the pioneers of this genre. However, today it was seen that the Twitter handle of the “parody” Junta ka Reporter was suspended. The team of the site put up the following Facebook note:

IMPORTANT AND FACTUAL (for a change) UPDATE:

The Twitter account associated with this website – @juntakareporter – has been suspended, presumably after the guys at “Janta Ka Reporter” website – the Aam Aadmi Party mouthpiece – complained to Twitter about impersonation.

First the facts – there was no attempt at impersonation; it was a clear parody account from day one.

The spellings of the name of the website as well as of the Twitter account were different, and the display picture (and the logo) of the Twitter account as well as of the website were distinctly different from those of “Janta Ka Reporter”. These are the basic rules Twitter asks parody accounts to stick to, to avoid impersonation.

But as the Poe’s Law says – without a clear indicator of the author’s intent, parodies of extremism are indistinguishable from sincere expressions of extremism – perhaps the guys at “Janta Ka Reporter” and some AAP supporters couldn’t distinguish the parody from the original and decided to report the “violation” to Twitter.

I can only blame their IQ (as “intolerance” is a word reserved for only one type of people), because there was clear indication in form of “Disclaimer” on the website that was present on every page in the footer. And you just needed to click “Contact Us” page to understand what the website was all about – yes, that’s where you should contact if you thought it was a case of impersonation.

Still they couldn’t distinguish the parody from the original. Why? Going back to Poe’s Law, this suspension only proves that the website “Janta Ka Reporter” is an expression of extremism.

And it’s true. You can’t find a “news” website that is more biased and shoddy than the original one. That’s why the parody one says that it is “neutral” and something “users can trust blindly”. This suspension proves that “Janta Ka Reporter” is extreme in its slavery towards Aam Aadmi Party and its founder Arvind Kejriwal, and thus Poe’s Law is applicable in this case.

In that sense, I welcome this suspension by Twitter.

However, to present my case, I’ve written to Twitter to explain the rationale behind their decision and unsuspend @juntakareporter as there was no explicit intent of impersonation.

I just hope the appeal is not reviewed by Indian employees of Twitter, who are known to be almost equally biased like the website @juntakareporter parodied.

Till then, connect with us on Facebook, while it lasts (I’m sure the same guys are trying to get this Facebook page suspended too).

Yours neutrally, Mofat Javed.

It appears that the handle might have been suspended because if was unclear whether it was a parody handle or whether it was trying to impersonate the original handle. However, Twitter users have come out in support of the handle:

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