Fake Stephen Conroy Twitter account censored by Telstra?

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).

– Telstra has published some ‘facts’on the situation (here):
– @StephenConroy has stated he has been asked to stop Twittering (here).

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).

image 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:

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).

Todays smh article:

Click image to visit SMH story above.

12 Responses to Fake Stephen Conroy Twitter account censored by Telstra?

  1. Cheryl Gled says:

    It would be interesting to hear from Leslie about

  2. What a shame the account has been deleted – I’d at least liked the posts to have remained as an archive.

    @stephenconroy was a great way of keeping some humour in the broad community of campaigners on the net censorship issue.

    Great summary.

  3. It would be interesting to hear from Leslie about his unmasking and subsequent deletion of the fake Stephen Conroy account. We can’t make assumptions that Telstra is censoring him – it might have been his own decision.

    So saying, I would love to see Stephen Conroy back on Twitter, and would hope that Telstra does not treat this as reflecting negatively on them. Everyone understands that this had nothing to do with them…

  4. I liked the account and believe it helped raise healthy debate about a number of very topical issues. My only regret is that it wasn’t my account.

    Please keep up the good work, Leslie!


  5. mandi says:

    i didn’t follow @stephenconroy with this account until i had quit my job. we were negotiating with RSC to be guest of honour at an upcoming event and i thought it was possible to get in trouble for following/RTing/bantering with FSC considering my profile isn’t exactly anonymous. so i can understand how being FSC would cause some trouble. but it doesn’t mean i like it!

    LOL @stephenconroy. LOL.

  6. Tom Kelshaw says:

    I’m confused how Nassar’s employer, Telstra, could have any part in him closing down the fake account?

    Nassar might have been reprimanded for sending tweets during work hours (if indeed he did, the account is closed now so i can’t check) but really, the composition of a few 140 character stairical posts could hardly waste more time than say, a smoker who burns 5 mins every hour outside.

    Other than that, it’d be nice to hear from Telstra PR on why Nassar can’t comment on something that has nothing to do with Telstra?

  7. I’m not sure if it’s been down and come back up, but as far as I can see the account hasn’t actually been deleted. Certainly I was relieved to be able to look at it just now (long may it stay that way!)


    Tim – Mumbrella

  8. Hi all,

    Lot’s of discussion about Telstra’s reaction to the Fake Stephen Conroy accouont- checkout the real facts at my blog on Now We Are Talking:


    Mike Hickinbotham
    Telstra’s Social Media Senior Advisor

  9. […] via Fake Stephen Conroy Twitter account censored by Telstra? « Amnesia Blog. […]

  10. eunmac says:


    Good to see you joining the debate. Many of us who have met you know that you are someone that understands social media – you’ve done a great job taking the @bigpondteam to where it is in Twitter. The question is whether Telstra as a corporate body understands the landscape.

    So what did happen at Telstra today? What we do know is that @stephenconroy has been asked to stop tweeting. We also know his twitter account was ‘missing completely’ for a period of time today. We do not know why.

    I often play the role of observer and advisor in these situations and the events I have watched unfold today are fairly typical of a big organisation in this type of situation. – ie; it has no idea what to do, so the first thing it does is attempt to remove the problem fast and then defend itself. Nothing unusual here – and I don’t see Telstra as being unusual, I just see a missed opportunity.

    Just my humble opinion but as a great Australian company maybe Telstra could have simply laughed at the whole situation and acknowledged the value of satire in our culture just as real Stephen Conroy has done (very admirably).

    So… why not let the story above become “How Telstra showed it’s lighter side and embraced a Twitter icon”? IMO It’s not too late for Telstra to turn this into a positive and make the most of the Twitterati – (who are all followed by the journos)!


  11. LisaStratus says:

    This information is true

  12. Very cool, some valid arguments! I appreciate you making this article available, the rest of the site is also well done. Have a fun.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: