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Twitter suspends account that ‘impersonated’ Putin, issuing tweets in English

Twitter application (Dreamstime/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Twitter has suspended an account that it said had been impersonating Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The account tweeted in the English language and had attracted 1 million followers before it was shut down.

Twitter said the page, using the handle @putinRF_eng, was a fraud that represented itself as an official government site. The social-networking service said it suspended the account late on November 28 after being tipped off by the Russian government.

“We suspended @putinRF_eng for impersonation based on a valid report we received from Russian officials,” Twitter said in a tweet.

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The social network does not allow users to set up accounts “portraying another person in a confusing or deceptive manner.”

Operating since November 2012, the account had represented itself as official since at least 2013, according to versions kept by the Internet Archive. An archived version from this month showed the account had just over 1 million followers.

The account while it was active mainly posted official government links to Putin’s public appearances.

The Kremlin did not immediately comment on Twitter’s action.