Sadly, just before Clarion went to press the @CUNYfrist parody account was suspended by Twitter – most likely because someone with a thin skin filed a complaint that it was in violation of Twitter’s formal rule against “Impersonation.”
Attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the ACLU and other civil liberties groups have often noted that parody, satire and social comment have broad protections under the First Amendment. Indeed, “temporarily ‘impersonating’ corporations and public officials has become an important and powerful form of political activism, especially online,” a 2010 EFF statement points out.
The anonymous figure(s) behind @CUNYfrist told Clarion that they are working to get the tongue-in-cheek account restored.
Meanwhile, even though @CUNYfrist is (temporarily?) missing from Twitter, it lives on in its Google cache. The most recent tweet recorded there is appropriate: after another Twitter user exclaimed, “Ha! To think that CUNYfirst has a parody account,” @CUNYfrist insisted, with digital deadpan, that there’s “Nothing funny abt dynamic IT solution for realtime edu environment.”
To that, we can only say “ : ) ”
Clarion will be proud to host a live Twitter chat with the figures behind the viral success of @CUNYfrist. The conversation will take place Thursday, October 23, at 5:00 pm. You’re invited to join us: follow @PSC_CUNY, and look for the hashtag “#FreeCf”.
Viewpoint: @CUNYfrist Keeps It Unreal
News Coverage: CUNYfirst’s Breakdown