New Twitter CEO Elon Musk mocked comedian Kathy Griffin Sunday evening after she was permanently banned from the platform for violating policy about impersonating people.
Griffin’s account had been temporarily restricted after she impersonated Musk by changing her profile photo to his photo and changing her user name to “Elon Musk,” even though her handle remained as “@kathygriffin.”
Musk responded to a Twitter account that posted the news that Griffin was banned for impersonating him by first taking a swipe at her and then by saying he would let her back on the platform.
“Actually, she was suspended for impersonating a comedian,” Musk tweeted. “But if she really wants her account back, she can have it.”
Musk later added that she would have to pay the $8 fee to use the new Twitter Blue.
But if she really wants her account back, she can have it
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 7, 2022
Around the time that Griffin was suspended, Musk explained in a series of tweets that the impersonating other people from a verified account would no longer be acceptable.
“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” Musk tweeted. “Previously, we issued a warning before suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning.”
“This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up to Twitter Blue,” Musk continued. “Any name change at all will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark.”
“Twitter needs to become by far the most accurate source of information about the world,” Musk later added. “That’s our mission.”
Musk also claimed that banning accounts for impersonation does not go against his views on free speech. “My commitment to free speech extends even to not banning the account following my plane, even though that is a direct personal safety risk,” Musk tweeted.
Twitter has explicit rules prohibiting the impersonation of other people. “You may not impersonate individuals, groups, or organizations to mislead, confuse, or deceive others, nor use a fake identity in a manner that disrupts the experience of others on Twitter,” the company’s terms of service says.
The company does make exceptions for parody accounts but the accounts have to clearly state that they are parody and are not the entity that they pretending to be.
“If we determine a profile features another’s image, we will also evaluate the context in which the image is used,” the terms of service state. “We are most likely to take action if an account falsely claims to be the entity portrayed in the profile photo, as with impersonation or fake accounts.”