It took more than 140 characters for China’s Communist Youth League (CYL) to get its point across: All 27 Twitter accounts claiming to represent it are fakes.
The youth wing of the Communist Party of China on Tuesday released a long list of the accounts purporting to speak on its behalf, reiterating that it has no official presence on the Western social media platform.
“The Youth League has never set up an account on Twitter under any name,” the organization said in a now-deleted statement on messaging app WeChat. “The emergence of such accounts and messages defames the Communist Youth League and violates the legal rights of the organization.”
Last month, a Chinese netizen alerted the CYL about @ComYouthLeague, an account with more than 10,000 followers that claims to be an official outlet. “We are here to deliver the message of the Party and the Youth League,” @ComYouthLeague wrote in its second tweet on Sept. 13.
After media outlets reported on the CYL’s new presence on Twitter, the organization responded on Weibo — Twitter’s Chinese counterpart — on Sept. 18 that @ComYouthLeague was in fact a fake. Over the past month, the number of fake accounts has only multiplied. Of the CYL’s list of 27 impostors, the majority registered since September, though several accounts date from as early as 2013.
The organization said the unauthorized accounts were “an organized infringement,” and that it has taken action against them. It added that Twitter has suspended some of the accounts and ordered others to change their names. Twitter’s terms and services state that impersonation is a violation and can lead to accounts being suspended.
Following backlash from the CYL, @ComYouthLeague has changed its name to “The Communist Youth League's Exiled Central Committee” and replaced its bio with “Authentic parody of China’s Communist League Central Committee.”
“Truth does not dim because of defamation, and falsehood does not shine because of clever words,” the CYL said, thanking “upright netizens,” including Chinese students studying overseas, for their enthusiastic support.
Editor: Bibek Bhandari.
(Header image: A mobile phone displaying the Twitter logo is held in front of a wall bearing the same image in New York, Feb. 9, 2016. Michael Nagle/Bloomberg/VCG)