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Germany tries to ban government parody account

Berlin directly petitioned Twitter to remove an account making fun of “feminist” Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The Germany Foreign Ministry pushed Twitter to temporarily ban a parody account lampooning Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Bild reported on Monday. The fake Baerbock apparently triggered a crisis among diplomats by tweeting about the coup in Niger.

Although the @Baerbockpress Twitter account only has 55,000 followers compared to the real foreign minister’s 600,000, its satirical posts – making fun of the Green politician’s fondness for jet travel, her poor English, and her liberal worldview – regularly clock up more likes and shares than anything Baerbock herself posts.

“Our economy isn’t growing any more, but our feminism is growing every day,” the account tweeted on Saturday. Another post from Saturday promised “diplomatic immunity abroad with immediate effect” for all of Baerbock’s followers.

The foreign ministry has taken a dim view of the account’s popularity. Speaking to German tabloid Bild on Monday, a ministry spokesperson said that it reached out to Elon Musk’s company, now renamed X, last month and urged its staff to “take measures” against the profile. Twitter complied, and the account was removed, albeit temporarily.

The account came back online over the weekend, with the word “parody” made more prominent in its title. Its profile and header photos remain the exact same as Baerbock’s actual account.

“Parody has its place in our democracy. Public figures have to endure it; Of course, that also applies to the Foreign Minister,” the spokesperson said. However, the ministry decided to take action after the parody account “retweeted a tweet from the democratically elected Nigerien foreign minister…with a French comment that was not immediately recognizable to all users as a fake,” they added.

“This came immediately after a telephone call between the Foreign Minister and her Nigerien counterpart in the midst of a dangerous crisis.”

In the offending tweet, the fake Baerbock responded to a plea for help against Niger’s ruling military junta by the country’s foreign minister with “Salut, salut. Je suis Annalena. Vive la démocratie!”

This tweet was followed by an announcement that ‘Baerbock’ had landed in Niger and would “negotiate with the military,” and an assertion that “If Niger had a feminist military, it would be a lot easier to take action now. I will propose to the currently imprisoned President Bazoum a mandatory quota for women in the military and cabinet.”

X currently allows parody accounts to impersonate public figures, provided they clearly identify themselves as such.

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Source:RT News

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