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Parody Twitter accounts give PLO plenty to worry about

By Jacqueline Mahugu | December 28th 2019

When he dazzled the Supreme Court in 2017, Prof PLO Lumumba reminded the court of “small, little things the law knows no cure.”

“I am submitting to us what we have here is petty grievances, administrative errors,” he said.

On that day, like in all his court appearances, he was in his prose element. But when all was said and done, Lumumba was left with a new headache; the proliferation of parody social media accounts in his name, picture and form.

Since then, for all his legal sophistry, Lumumba is unable to tame them. For the umpteenth time this month, he wrote to Twitter to bring down parody accounts impersonating his profile as a public speaker, lawyer and social commentator.

“I have never had a Twitter account,” a clearly vexed Lumumba told Sunday Standard after the paper inadvertently published a tweet from one of the fake accounts.

In the letter, Lumumba rejects the parody explanation offered to him in an earlier complaint saying it is “without merit” given that he does not have a Twitter account. “Parody presupposes that I hold a genuine account, which I do not,” he says in the letter.

What’s more, he says, the parodies carry his pictures and easily deceive people that he is the author of the posts.

“These individuals have created these fake accounts and have been commenting and disseminating statements on various important national, regional and international matters using abusive, intrusive and sometimes incomprehensible language,” he wrote.

Some of them make it clear that they are parody accounts, while others operate under the guise of being PLO Lumumba himself. Others specialise in use English in an over-top and incomprehensible manner, purporting to parody his prose:

“The ongoing #WajingaNyinyi by King Kaka is a mandayasmic sabjolism. Kenyans are gradzeeled and toprogrady. The revolution is charastata, digrogogy and soloptic. We cannot nonjorn and discrone such fregy nogy,” a meaningless tweet by @PL0_Lumumba reads.

Others post on issues in a manner that easily deceive one into believing it is the lawyer himself tweeting. Twitter has the provision to report such impersonation accounts. According to its site, impersonation is a violation of the Twitter rules.

Accounts found to be doing this can be suspended. While users are allowed to make parody accounts, the Twitter site states “that the account must portray another entity in a misleading or deceptive manner” in order to be removed.

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