ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – On Twitter they have the same name, Mayor Richard Berry, and the same profile picture.
But look a little deeper and it’s not so hard to see which one is the real deal and which one is real and which one’s not.
The first tweet on the newly launched @mayor_rjberry announces that Albuquerque Chief Administrative Officer Rob Perry has been reassigned to the monkey house at the Albuquerque BioPark. The next one claims APD Chief Gorden Eden has resigned.
On top of that, all of the tweets so far on the fake account have the hashtag, #apdprotest.
Although the account’s bio implies it’s not representing the real Mayor Berry, a lack of a crystal clear indication that the account’s a parody or fake account appears to be in violation of Twitter’s terms of service.
“The confusion is if somebody thinks it’s the actual account, if they start saying things that aren’t really clearly wrong, it’s very misleading to the general public,” said social media consultant Ashley Drake Gephart.
Because of that, Berry spokesperson Breanna Anderson says the mayor’s office has asked Twitter to take down the account.
Gephart doesn’t think Twitter will go that far.
“Since it is I think trying to be a parody account as opposed to something malicious, Twitter will give them a chance to clarify this is a parody account,” Gephart said.
This is just the latest of several fake Twitter accounts for local officials that have drawn attention. Parody accounts of state auditor Hector Balderas and APS superintendent Winston Brooks are recent examples.
“Political satire has always been a foundation for the first amendment and for democracy in America and this is just the latest iteration of it,” said UNM social media professor Benson Hendrix.