Court order filed concerning Twitter account that spoofs alderman
Published: August 29,2013
Tags: alderman, bench, board of aldermen, city, city government, City of Starkville, court, court order, crime, David Little, judge, judicial, judiciary, justice, law, law enforcement, legal, social media, Twitter
STARKVILLE — A court order is asking the social-networking site Twitter to furnish the district attorney’s office with personal information — name, IP addresses and other details — associated with an account satirizing Starkville Alderman David Little.
Documents obtained by The Commercial Dispatch show the order is related to a Starkville Police Department criminal investigation into the satirical @DavidLittleBOA Twitter account, which documents show was later changed to @DavidLittleFake.
No charges had been filed in the case.
Twitter officials confirmed a request by the police department to preserve data for parody accounts of both Little and Alderman Ben Carver on Aug. 2. The company has yet to present the district attorney’s office with any information.
The order, signed by Judge Jim Kitchens, cites Miss. Code Annotated 97-7-43, which lays the groundwork for misdemeanor claims against “whoever falsely and willfully assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the State of Mississippi,” including municipalities. The crime carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $500 fine.
Another court document filed by Starkville Police Detective William Durr, the case’s lead investigator, states the Little parody was “created in the name of David Little and then later renamed to be a parody account. After the discovery of this account, it was confirmed that there was no authorization by David Little to create any Twitter account in his name.”
The investigation was launched when Little filed a formal complaint with the agency after two accounts lampooning him and Carver emerged on Twitter shortly after the board ousted former Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill in July. Both Little and Carver were interviewed by detectives, police said.
According to the social media company’s usage policies, parody accounts are allowed as long as the creator of the account makes it clear the account is not the same as the subject of the parody.
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