Twitter took action Monday night following CJR’s recent article about the two Nikki Finke Twitter accounts (one real, one fake, both seemingly called @NIKKIFINKE due to a quirk of Twitter’s typography that makes lowercase Ls look like uppercase Is). Twitter allows parody accounts, but only if the user makes it clear that the account is fake in the handle, name, and bio. It seems that the Fake Nikki Finke did not do this to Twitter’s satisfaction.
The Fake Finke emailed CJR last night to say that not only was @NIKKlFINKE suspended, but @NikkiFinke was, also. Apparently, Fake Finke was so convincing that even Twitter couldn’t tell the accounts apart and accidentally suspended them both.
The real Nikki Finke account was restored at approximately 1:30 p.m. Tuesday after being down for about 16 hours. Finke, the founder of Hollywood scoops site Deadline Hollywood, declined to comment to CJR, but DH issued a statement:
Twitter inadvertently deactivated Deadline Hollywood’s Twitter account (@nikkifinke) at the same [sic] it removed a fake DH account. The situation has been corrected, and we’re up and running again. Look for missed tweets.
Twitter also declined to comment, saying it is company policy not to speak about individual users and accounts for privacy reasons.
The man behind fake Nikki Finke doesn’t seem interested in stopping his parody, even though he may have lost his Twitter handle. He set up a new Fake Nikki Finke account (@freenikklfinke), while someone else set up another account, @Not_NikkiFinke, and then, according to its second tweet, “offered it to NikklFinke if he chooses to use it.”
He did. He is now using @Not_NikkiFinke as his primary means of communication with the outside world, promising “I do plan on getting back @nikkLfinke account. I guess I might have to add a ‘fake’ to comply with Twitter rules” and “I don’t think I’m over with this quite yet.”
UPDATE: The Fake Nikki Finke commented via Gchat late Tuesday night that he has “put in a support ticket to Twitter vis-à-vis the account in hopes to try to get it reinstated.” He expects he’ll have to make the account look like a more obvious parody to reclaim it—putting the words “fake” or “not” in front of the user name and putting a disclaimer on the bio, for example—which he’s willing to do. Though Twitter never emailed him to inform him that his account was under investigation or suspended, he thinks the company has shown itself to be “somewhat decent with reinstating suspended parody accounts” in the past, so he’s hopeful his suspension will end soon.
One of the real Nikki Finke’s issues with the parody, according to her comments in CJR’s original article on the two Finkes, was that people were mistaking the his tweets for her own and that this could damage her reputation. The Fake Finke denies this, saying “Nikki Finke has done a way better job of destroying her own credibility than anything I did.” He pointed to a tweet that seems to indicate that the real Nikki Finke knew about his parody account—and that people were confusing it for the real thing—as soon as a day after its launch.
As of now, @NIKKlFINKE remains suspended. And the real Nikki Finke blocked this reporter’s Twitter account.