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My @JFK Twitter account “has been suspended and will not be restored” (medium.com/john_43250)
81 points by weisser on Aug 29, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 27 comments

I don't think you can impersonate an airport. They should revise the message to say that they're taking his username for "imairportation".

Kind of reminds me of:


Except in the real world, if you buy the domain name it's yours, while being an early adopter of Twitter just gets your account shut down if Twitter thinks they can make more money by giving it to someone else.

Finally, it's not like he told people to message John Fitzgerald Kelley with complaints about KJFK airport. They did that on their own, and he just took it in stride. That's what passes for a terms of service violation these days.

One of the senses of "impersonate" is "to manifest or embody in one's own person". Thus the person in impersonate is the person assuming the identity, not the person or thing whose identity is being assumed.

Overall unconvincing. People also messaged "him" to bemoan his assassination. Did they actually think they were talking to John Fitzgerald Kennedy, even though they obviously knew he was dead?

While I sympathise with the author, the end result was pretty inevitable. Getting a popular handle like that is both a blessing and a curse.

My experience from the other side: There is a well know budget airline here in Australia which (like all budget airlines) is renowned for it's poor service. After one particular bad flight experience a couple of years ago, I hastily sent off an annoyed tweet @airlinename.

A few minutes later, I received a barrage of insults and self righteous tweets from that account. Checking the account history, I see that is is some guy in the UK with the same handle as the airline, and looking at his historical timeline, it seems to be his routine day job to hurl insults at anyone who mistakenly tweets him thinking that is the airline's twitter handle.

Fair enough, I should have checked first. But he never pretended to be a rep from the airline - just a rude, bad tempered git with poor spelling and grammar skills, so I was never mislead, and I just forgot about the incident. Until a few months later when I checked on that account again and discovered that it was now a private account.

He may have not created the account with the intension of misleading anyone, but he lost moral authority when he started replying to tweets in a manner designed to reinforce confusion (for example, by using the pronoun 'we').

Plus his profile picture is JFK airport's signage.

That's clearly designed to mislead. Just go look at his own screenshots of his tweets in the article. It is pretty damning.

It is not. It was derived from the banner image on this page:


I found it via a Google image search for "JFK airport"; it was the fifth result.

You say "it is not" then link to something tying his profile image to the airport? All you've done is reinforce what I said, that it is clearly designed to mislead and impersonate the airport.

People in this thread act like this is "David and Goliath" when in reality the owner of the JFK Twitter handle intentionally changed his profile picture to one associated with the international airport then acted as a representative in order to generate complaints/bad sentiment.

It is pretty indefensible. It wasn't an accident or a mistake. He did it over days, not hours, and further compounded the deceit by changing the account's profile picture to misleading people into believing he was the facility.

Sorry, but I would have killed that account too. I would not be able to trust him not to do it again in the future, and frankly he might be better off losing it than getting sued by the airport (even if he doesn't appreciate that at the moment).

They meant "it is not [JFK signage]" which is a pedantic attempt to deflect because they either have nothing to add or think it's fine and rather not defend it directly. The profile image is specifically related to JFK by image (which he sought and chose)...making it intentionally confusing or casually confusing because he rather use a clip of an image from a site dedicated to JFK airport, rather than make up his own MSpaint image. Indefensible is the correct term, if-and-only-if Twitter has decided that monikers don't mean anything unless they do. There have been similar fights in naming Guilds in WoW, AOL usernames, etc. It's to be expected and acting surprised is just noise.

I completely agree. I did not mean that it is not official JFK signage, and therefore OK. The fact that the picture was very likely found via an image search for "jfk airport" is just further evidence of deliberate impersonation. It is not exculpatory in any way.

Unfortunately, these kinds of things happen all too often. Corporations don't have souls. Someone likely reported the guy and some worker making pennies in the Philippines spent a few seconds on his case and moved on to the next hundred. The only way to get them to care is if you're someone important, or if you kick up a big enough storm. The way companies like Google are moving towards automating human decisions (as evident in Youtube and the Play Store) will only exacerbate the alienation users will face. This is the future we choose with these megacorporations. One user is a not even a raindrop in their ocean and is not worth the monetary expense to them to provide reasonable support for. Of course you're a guest on their platform, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have expectations for how you are treated. The only solution is to move towards platforms where you are in control (like Diaspora) or ones that are small enough to respect you personally. The internet was supposed to bring us closer together, but with things like anonymity and scale, sometimes the worst parts just overwhelm the rest.

The author got me until he showed the screenshots where he impersonated the airport.

I mean, you could complain if you got your Twitter account suspended for no clear reason. Maybe the airport or some other big party attempting to unfairly get your handle. But this does't seem to be the case here.

What a strange blog post. It goes from being a strong argument why he should have the @JFK account to a strong argument why he shouldn't.

> I can’t help feeling like I’m getting the death penalty for a parking violation

I think our obsession with short/cool handles is strange, and even stranger is people building their "empire" on something that can be taken from you so arbitrarily.

It's the same as people expecting to get free-speech on Twitter/FB/Tumblr.

Even domains, which can't be taken from you on a whim, can be made far less "valuable" with the introduction on new TLDs.

TL;DR - Guy with JFK twitter handle decides to impersonate airport. Outcome is predictable.

Your tldr is missing the point though. They know how they messed up, the point of their post is to show the disproportionate and impersonal response they received to something that was just supposed to be some fun.

"Fun" is in the eye of the beholder. The people tweeting at him may have never realized that this wasn't the airport.

If you want some fun, go play a video game or something. I have no sympathy for someone who gets their fun at other people's expense.

How was it at someone else's expense?

From the images in the article, @DapperDapo tweeted out loud, tagging @JFK, asking what the right handle was to file a complaint. @JFK responded. They then proceeded to state their complaint, and @JFK mocked them.

> What's @jfk Twitter page. I have complaints.

< @DapperDapo we don't take complaints, only compliments. #WhyPeopleSoAngry?

> Why are there 2 people working the customs line when two international flights just landed? @JFK

< @DapperDapo Duh. One per flight. Next question?

It's very likely (keep in mind they were probably on mobile if they were tweeting from a customs line, and @JFK has display name "JFK" and a photo of the airport as its profile picture) that they believed that they successfully reached someone at JFK, and the airport hires grumpy people. In fact, the joke is only funny if that's the case, if they were tricked into believing they talked to the airport.

A very good contrast is @slack, a human named Matt Slack. His profile picture shows his face, and his display name is "Matt Slack", not "Slack". If you tag him by mistake (which happens very often!) he'll reply with some sort of joke about how he's a person and not a messaging system. Funny, classy, and not attempting to mislead. The humor is always about him very clearly not being @SlackHQ, as opposed to him being a rude version of @SlackHQ. https://twitter.com/slack/with_replies

But where is the notable negative impact to those two people's lives?

I ain't denying that he was being a goober to them, but "at their expense" implies its at their expense

I don't see how it goes further than, them getting to the next worker at the airport, saying "UGH, your PR on twitter sucks!", and then being told "maam/sir, that is not our twitter account"

Ha, I know the early adopter pride. I have a cool phone number from Google Voice and occasionally drop "in my day" from my 10 year old reddit account. I know it's silly, but there's a little bit of pride there.

Must be sad to lose @jfk. I know technically he did have it coming, but it seems like the kind of thing where maybe you could get a warning first or something.

Pride comes with embarrassment. I have an almost 12 year old steam account and am regularly ridiculed for playing CSGO poorly with a 10 years+ veteran's badge.

Twitter's namespace belongs to Twitter alone. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling themselves.

> I tweeted 9 times in response to people who tweeted at me, who were directing their ire at the wrong place, and who really should just lighten up a bit.

"You should just lighten up" is a good sign that you have no argument and you're being a jerk. It is the catchphrase of a schoolyard bully who never grew out of that phase.

And the best part is it can apply either way. Twitter took your account that you had for 9 years! That's pretty funny! You're not on Twitter any more! Just lighten up, go outside, and stop using Twitter. Get a sense of humor, okay? What, you don't like me turning your argument around on you? Lighten up a bit!

While my account hasn't been suspended I get similar mis-tweeted traffic. Probably because most of the people using Twitter don't know how to use it correctly.

This leaves you with something to think about: Can one assume that one can continue to avail such services forever? Maybe it is only a matter of time when (1) the provider stops offering services (selectively), (2) it becomes paid, (3) it ceases to exist.

Maybe it's good to be prepared that it might happen.

In a perfect world, Twitter would restore your account, and JFK airport would hire you as SVP Customer Service.

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