The @stephenconroy Twitter account has ‘reappeared’ since the initial writing of this article. It was certainly down for us (which the SMH also points out below).
Much more than a prank – a piece of Twitter History:
So the Twitter account @stephenconroy as written by Leslie Nassar, a Telstra employee, was today shut down. Whilst some called Nassar a prankster, those who followed @stephenconroy know that this was a brilliantly written, satirical, entertaining and fun parody that was never in doubt as a fake. In fact it brought some well needed humour into a debate about censorship and the internet filter in Australia. We even played a part publishing a list of suspects (which really was all part of the fun and quite the opposite to being a witch hunt as some saw it).
Even the real Senator Stephen Conroy seemed to think the character was healthy satire (as stated in an SMH article), and >1500 followers on Twitter were regularly drawn into @stephenconroy’s daily musings and conversations. Amongst the followers were many of the “Twitterati” (high reach Twitter users) as well as journalists and other key influencers. It is safe to say that Nassar has a strong base of support in the community.
The Censorship Debate:
It raises an interesting debate and all eyes will now be on Telstra to handle the matter with dignity and fairness. There is clearly a conflict of interest for the corporation given its pending deals with the government. However most neutral observers would agree that Nassar kept the debate a considerable distance from his employer. The broader reaction has been one of disappointment at the termination* of the @stephenconory twitter account (although it is suspected that Nassar may have removed this to avoid conflict with his employer). Many consider the profile a part of Twitter nostalgia given the brilliantly written tweets that were posted daily. History has shown that brands that censor rather than support in these situations do not fare well. We’ve set up a poll below to let you voice your opinion:
TAKE PART IN A POLL:
Did Telstra make the right decision in silencing @stephenconroy?
If you feel strongly (ie: should Telstra ask Mr.Nassar to continue to run the @stephenconroy account please post a comment below).
Click image to visit SMH story above.