Twitter has suspended an account that has been vocal in its opposition to the Olympics.
@spacehijackers is a Twitter account run by a group of activists with anti-capitalist aims, and is part of a social media campaign to protest the Olympics. Those behind the account cite the corporate takeover of the event that bars real people from participating as its main grievance with the global sports event.
However, if you try to visit the account right now, you’ll see a notice from Twitter that it has been suspended.
The Telegraph reached out to the spokespeople behind the @spacehijackers account after its suspension, and discovered that Twitter’s main reason for closing the doors on their activist account was because of a copyright violation.
The account had been using an avatar of the Olympics logo that was Photoshopped, which violates Twitter’s terms of service. The company sent the account holders and email which explained in part:
“We have received reports from the trademark holder, London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd, that your account, @spacehijackers, is using a trademark that could be confusing or misleading with regard to a brand affiliation. Your account has been temporarily suspended due to violation of our trademark policy.”
The @spacehijackers spokesperson told the Telegraph that this suspension was unfair, as their account was clearly not affiliated with the Olympics and should not be confusing to people.
Twitter has to walk a fine line between being a communication channel for the free, uncensored speech that it has been used for in past protests around the world, and a business-friendly network for its paying advertisers.
The network was a key part of the Arab Spring uprisings and Occupy Wall Street, but Twitter also has to make money, and upsetting the companies and organizations that pay its bills could ultimately destroy it.
It remains to be seen if Twitter will reinstate the @spacehijackers account if they change their logo and remove the Olympics image.
Do you think Twitter was right in suspending the account for trademark violation? Or is the company infringing on the free speech it claims to support? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.