Twitter has closed down five separate parody accounts that make fun of Russian President Vladmir Putin and criticize the Kremlin, sparking more fears about the platforms attitude to free speech.
One of the suspended accounts was a parody of Vladmir Putin under the address @DarthPutinKGB, which had over 50,000 followers.
Another one of the suspended accounts was under the name @SovietSergey, which was a parody for Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, although it has now been reinstated.
So anyway, back to business. I deny that we bombed a hospital.
— Soviet Sergey (@SovietSergey) May 31, 2016
There was also an account dedicated to mocking the Russian Ambassador to the U.K. Alexander Yakovenko, which centered on making fun of the Russian Embassy and its diplomatic procedures.
In response to the allegations of censorship, a Twitter spokesperson said the company “does not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons,” pointing to their policy on parody accounts.
The policy states that the “bio should indicate that the user is not affiliated with the account subject by stating a word such as “parody,” “fake,” “fan,” or “commentary.”
Twitter has previously come under criticism for the suppression of conservative voices and in particular the de-verification of Breitbart Tech editor Milo Yiannopoulos.
The rapper Azealia Banks’ Twitter account also had her Twitter account suspended in May after a series of verbal spats with One Direction singer Zayn Malik.