Arizona Law Would Outlaw Fake Facebook & Twitter Accounts

Uh oh! Looks like ElBloombito, Zooey Deschanel Asks Siri a Question and Sarcastic Mars Rover could get the ax in Arizona over the next few months.

House bill 2004, a bill proposed by Democratic Arizona Rep. Michelle Ugenti, aims to make it illegal for Twitter users to create fake Twitter accounts. Say it ain’t so, @NotAPoliceman!

Who does Michelle Ugenti think she is! Hasn’t she ever heard of the First Amendment?! Let’s see the face of this first civil-liberties-crushing-neo-facist Republi…

Oh. Ummmm. Yowza! If that is the face of censorship then I am on the next flight to Communist Russia!

So what exactly is House Bill 2004 limiting? Ugenti’s intent with the bill is to stop fake accounts that “harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten.” Sounds reasonable to me, Michelle! I’m totally with you on this one. If you want to get coffee or something sometime that would be cool or whatever … (ok, sorry, back to journalism).

The bill would also make it illegal to make fake Facebook accounts or send emails/text messages while impersonating someone else, Ugenti said:

If you’re going to impersonate someone and you’re going to threaten, harm or defraud them, it should be against the law because of the ramifications to the individual.”

Arizona would not be the first state to pass a bill like this. New York, California, Washington and Texas all have adopted similar laws. And Arizona also already has passed laws to make it illegal to send threats via electronic communication.

Opponents of the bill claim that this is an overstep into our civil liberties and a violation of First Amendment rights. There is also the concern of a “slippery slope” where the government would start taking down malicious parody accounts but then start pursuing non-malicious ones that they might just disagree with.

Eitan Levine is a New York City based comic. Follow him on Twitter at @Eitanthegoalie .

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