This one’s a big fail for both sides.
Jon Daniel had a crazy idea. He decided to create a parody Twitter account, using the local mayor’s likeness and contact information. He modeled it after other parody accounts he had seen on Twitter. Soon, he began sending tweets out that were profane and over-the-top. He says that he only intended for his friends to see it, for a laugh.
After a few days, it dawned on him that he should explicitly state that the account was a parody, after he picked up followers he didn’t recognize. Some time later, Twitter suspended the account and Jon Daniel thought that this was a wrap.
However, it wasn’t. This past April, a raid was executed on his house and computers and smartphones were seized.
It appears that the Peoria mayor didn’t take this a joke and went after Daniel for falsely impersonating a public official. Apparently, the Peoria authorities had used warrants to get Daniel’s identity from Twitter and to have the account shut down.
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges but, now, it’s the city in the legal crosshairs. Daniel has filed a suit and has the the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It appears that, even if annoying or bothersome, parody accounts are not illegal.
The mayor, for his part, admitted that he might have overreacted:
“And perhaps I’m guilty of reacting as a man, as a father and as a husband rather than as a government official with whom constituents might disagree.”
Since this incident, another dozen fake Peoria mayor Twitter accounts have been created.