UK Government Official Gets Twitter Parody Account Closed Down For Mocking Politicians And Heads Of Large Companies

from the makes-you-gag dept

A couple of weeks ago, the UK passed what has become known as the “gagging bill”, because it puts major restrictions on how much charities and activist groups can spend while campaigning on political issues before an election. But that wasn’t the only thing the UK government was up to on the gagging front, as Tom Pride explains in a blog post:

as if to celebrate the occasion, a Twitter parody account that was critical of coalition policies was closed down after complaints were made from government officials.

The parody account was called @UKJCP, and it was a spoof of the UK’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), which had sent the following demand via Twitter to the parody account before it was closed down:

Can you stop RT tweets we have not written — it is not satire and is confusing to customers. It also exceeds your twitter agreement.

As Pride points out:

So now we’ve not just got government departments deciding what forms of public criticism are acceptable, but also deciding for us what exactly is humorous and what isn’t.

Since the parody account was shut down by a UK government department, it was possible to put in a freedom of information request for the exact details of the takedown demand. Here’s the key part (pdf):

The @UKJCP account has been set up with deliberate and malicious intent to devalue and criticise the work of Jobcentre Plus [the JCP in @UKJCP]. In addition, there are a number of rude and potentially libelous tweets aimed at UK government, elected politicians and the heads of large private sector organisations who are committed to working with government on reducing unemployment.

The story has a happy ending because the parody account has now been re-instated. But as Pride comments:

Apart from the obvious concern that UK government officials are openly trying to close down criticism of government, politicians and business leaders — I’m also pretty shocked that Twitter agreed to the request.

At least Twitter changed its mind on this particular kind of gagging — unlike the UK government.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or, and +glynmoody on Google+

Filed Under: ,
Companies: twitter

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “UK Government Official Gets Twitter Parody Account Closed Down For Mocking Politicians And Heads Of Large Companies”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment

i’m waiting to read about anything that isn’t liked concerning the election itself next year and who is stopped from donating to what other parties (wont affect the Tories. that’s why they wanted this bill in!) then wait for the religious nuts to start. Cameron is a fucking idiot! he doesn’t have a clue what can of worms he’s opened. it will, sooner or later, come back and bite him though, wait and see!


UK passed what has become known as the “gagging bill”, because it puts major restrictions on how much charities and activist groups can spend while campaigning on political issues before an election.

Does this bill also pose the same restrictions to corporations and other “entities”? or is this just another way of limiting the “little guy”?



This government have been plagued by online groups like 38 degrees who have been speaking out against their policies.

The gagging law basically silences them and charities for the year before the election. It was sold as an anti lobbying bill but reading the text made it obvious that it was aimed at dissenters.


Re: Re:

I cannot believe something like this was able to pass, the uk is hopeless……..un-fcking-belivable…………un-fcking-believable that im only hearing of it now……….there is a SERIOUS communication problem here in the uk, nobody wants to talk to eachother about these things, until that changes, nothing will, how can you fight something you dont agree with, if you dont know anything about it…… least the americans care enough to share what they find ffs


Need we remind anyone that George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were Englishmen? It was no mistake that Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, and Huxley’s Brave New World, novels about bleak dystopian societies where the totalitarian government’s elite leaders ruled unilaterally and ran roughshod over the rights of the average citizens, were each set in England. Those British authors merely saw the future of their country clearly.

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Older Stuff
13:40 It's Great That Winnie The Pooh Is In The Public Domain; But He Should Have Been Free In 1982 (Or Earlier) (35)
12:06 Norton 360 Now Comes With Crypto Mining Capabilities And Sketchy Removal Process (28)
10:45 Chinese Government Dragnet Now Folding In American Social Media Platforms To Silence Dissent (14)
10:40 Daily Deal: The 2022 Ultimate Cybersecurity Analyst Preparation Bundle (0)
09:29 A Fight Between Facebook And The British Medical Journal Highlights The Difficulty Of Moderating 'Medical Misinformation' (9)
06:29 Court Ruling Paves The Way For Better, More Reliable Wi-Fi (4)
20:12 Eighth Circuit (Again) Says There's Nothing Wrong With Detaining Innocent Minors At Gunpoint (15)
15:48 China's Regulatory War On Its Gaming Industry Racks Up 14k Casualties (10)
13:31 Chinese Government Fines Local Car Dealerships For Surveilling While Not Being The Government (5)
12:08 Eric Clapton Pretends To Regret The Decision To Sue Random German Woman Who Listed A Bootleg Of One Of His CDs On Ebay (29)
10:44 ICE Is So Toxic That The DHS's Investigative Wing Is Asking To Be Completely Separated From It (29)
10:39 Daily Deal: The 2022 Complete Raspberry Pi And Arduino Developer Bundle (0)
09:31 Google Blocked An Article About Police From The Intercept... Because The Title Included A Phrase That Was Also A Movie Title (24)
06:22 Wireless Carriers Balk At FAA Demand For 5G Deployment Delays Amid Shaky Safety Concerns (16)
19:53 Tenth Circuit Denies Qualified Immunity To Social Worker Who Fabricated A Mother's Confession Of Child Abuse (35)
15:39 Sci-Hub's Creator Thinks Academic Publishers, Not Her Site, Are The Real Threat To Science, And Says: 'Any Law Against Knowledge Is Fundamentally Unjust' (34)
13:32 Federal Court Tells Proud Boys Defendants That Raiding The Capitol Building Isn't Covered By The First Amendment (25)
12:14 US Courts Realizing They Have A Judge Alan Albright Sized Problem In Waco (17)
10:44 Boston Police Department Used Forfeiture Funds To Hide Purchase Of Surveillance Tech From City Reps (16)
10:39 Daily Deal: The Ultimate Microsoft Excel Training Bundle (0)
09:20 NY Senator Proposes Ridiculously Unconstitutional Social Media Law That Is The Mirror Opposite Of Equally Unconstitutional Laws In Florida & Texas (25)
06:12 Telecom Monopolies Are Exploiting Crappy U.S. Broadband Maps To Block Community Broadband Grant Requests (7)
12:00 Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2021 At Techdirt (17)
10:00 Gaming Like It's 1926: Join The Fourth Annual Public Domain Game Jam (6)
09:00 New Year's Message: The Arc Of The Moral Universe Is A Twisty Path (33)
19:39 DHS, ICE Begin Body Camera Pilot Program With Surprisingly Good Policies In Place (7)
15:29 Remembering Techdirt Contributors Sherwin And Elliot (1)
13:32 DC Metro PD's Powerful Review Panel Keeps Giving Bad Cops Their Jobs Back (6)
12:11 Missouri Governor Still Expects Journalists To Be Prosecuted For Showing How His Admin Leaked Teacher Social Security Numbers (39)
10:48 Oversight Board Overturning Instagram Takedown Of Ayahuasca Post Demonstrates The Impossibility Of Content Moderation (10)
More arrow
This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it