AOC Can't Take A Joke, Fumes Over Viral Parody Account
Elon Musk and Socialist Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York are at loggerheads after tech billionaire Musk interacted with a parody Twitter account featuring her handle.
The congresswoman warned her followers to be wary of “what you see” following the prediction from critics that parody accounts would cause chaos on Twitter.
Musk had recently changed the policies on verification marks for official Twitter accounts, a move that actress Alyssa Milano condemned, suggesting that by “revoking her blue check mark” he was leaving her open to becoming the victim of “identity theft or fraud.”
The focus of Ocasio-Cortez’s ire was the “AOCpress” account, which features her handle and is clearly labeled “parody” in accordance with Twitter's terms of service. The parody account has 181k followers while the account for Ocasio-Cortez has more than 13.4 million followers.
Despite this, Ocasio-Cortez has called out the tech billionaire for engaging with the fake account.
“I am assessing with my team how to move forward. In the meantime, be careful of what you see,” the congresswoman tweeted on Tuesday.
FYI there’s a fake account on here impersonating me and going viral. The Twitter CEO has engaged it, boosting visibility.
It is releasing false policy statements and gaining spread.
I am assessing with my team how to move forward. In the meantime, be careful of what you see.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2023
The parody account then hit back at Ocasio-Cortez’s warning, tweeting “After brainstorming with my staff - I’m going to push Congress to make it illegal to joke, laugh, or make fun of me. Parody should be illegal.”
After brainstorming with my staff - I’m going to push Congress to make it illegal to joke, laugh, or make fun of me.
Parody should be illegal.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Press Release (parody) (@AOCpress) May 30, 2023
It is this comment from the account that Musk responded to with a "fire emoji," much to the opposition of Ocasio-Cortez.
The incident has sparked a wider debate about the power of parody accounts, and whether prominent figures are being held up to arbitrary rules.
Previously Twitter had allowed parody accounts as long as they made it clear that they were not the real person. Now however parody accounts are being suspended or removed, leading many to believe that the site is operating under an uneven standard.
The calls for tighter regulation become ever louder largely in response to Musk's perceived role as kingmaker. Many have pointed out that with 50 million followers, the tech billionaire has a direct influence over the opinions and viewpoints of a vast swath of the population.
As the debates rage on, so far no solution has been proposed. For now, Ocasio-Cortez is urging caution over engaging with parody accounts, calling on Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to properly address the issue and prevent future chaos.