Asma al-Assad's aide persuaded Twitter to remove fake accounts, emails reveal

Twitter removed all but one account using Syrian president's name and half of those using first lady's after complaint

guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 14 March 2012 14.07 EDT

Twitter closed down a string of accounts purporting to be authored by the Syrian president and the first lady, emails reveal.

A senior aide to Asma al-Assad, Fares Kallas, took issue with the site over 11 accounts. Half of the accounts using the first lady's name and all but one of those using the president's name were closed down.

The author of one account, @Syrianpresident, described it as a "parody account" and said it had attracted 2,500 followers.

Kallas wrote to Twitter complaining that this and other accounts were "fraudulent Twitter accounts purporting to be the president of Syria and the first lady of Syria and we would like to officially request for these accounts to be removed or suspended. We believe that each of the following are clearly intending to mislead people via impersonation rather than act as spoof/humorous accounts."

Twitter told the Assad office: "We do suspend accounts that are clear attempts at impersonation," but added: "Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary and fan accounts."

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