Twitter users with verified accounts who changed their username to “Elon Musk” to mock the social network’s new owner have been suspended by the platform.
The actress Kathy Griffin, who has two million subscribers, is one of these Internet users. She had also replaced her profile picture with an image of the billionaire.
The Tesla boss, who has described himself in the past as a “absolute defender of freedom of expression”tweeted on Sunday that “Twitter accounts that impersonate someone else, without clearly stating that it is a parody, will be permanently suspended.”
The h3h3Productions Twitter account, belonging to youtubeur Ethan Klein, was also banned despite being displayed as a parody.
Accused of being personally involved in decisions to ban accounts targeting him, Elon Musk responded to a tweet reporting the suspension of Kathy Griffin’s account.
“In fact, she was suspended for pretending to be an actress”, he scoffed. The comedian, whose account has still not been reactivated, still wanted to answer him through his late mother’s account: “I’m back from the dead to tell you to release Kathy.”
Other users, including Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, joined the fray with the hashtag #FreeKathy.
Elon Musk’s first decisions after completing the $44 billion takeover of Twitter were to lay off half of the employees and announce that it now had to pay $8 a month to qualify for certification, which was previously free.
Certified users, whose authenticity was previously verified by the platform, are marked with a blue tick.