New East Digital Archive

RT’s historical “British embassy” Twitter account suspended after Foreign Office complaint

RT’s historical “British embassy” Twitter account suspended after Foreign Office complaint

4 September 2017

A Twitter account set up by Russian state-backed news channel RT (formerly Russia Today) describing itself as “The official Twitter account of the United Kingdom in the Russian Empire” has been suspended, following a complaint by the British Foreign Office.

The account formed part of a real time online reenactment project commemorating the centenary of the Russian Revolution called #1917Live. The account, @BritshEmb1917, was just one of a series of linked accounts set up by RT for the project.

“We alerted Twitter to an unofficial account that was using HMG branding without consent,” a Foreign Office spokesperson stated last week following the suspension of the account, quoted by The Guardian. According to the British newspaper’s report, the account was spotted by Foreign Office staff in London, who later notified the real British embassy in Moscow. It is thought that Twitter removed the account on the grounds of violation of its rules regarding impersonation.

RT’s social media head, Ivor Crotty, took to Twitter to ask for the British embassy’s help in getting the account reinstated.

“We’re willing to do whatever it takes to ensure #1917Live project integrity and retweet the revolutions in a way all are comfortable with,” he said, also posting a GIF of Vladimir Lenin stroking a cat.

After his attempts at reconciliation failed to win success, Mr Crotty took a dim view of the decision by Twitter and the Foreign Office.

“Turns out @ukinrussia DID block the #1917Live handle for British Embassy. Not sure what this was supposed to achieve. Sad, spiteful,” he later tweeted.

This war of words is far from revolutionary — relations between RT and British institutions have long been fraught. RT has previously been sanctioned by the UK’s broadcasting and telecommunications regulator, Ofcom, for biased reporting, while last year a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign ministry pledged retaliation against British media after the closure of British bank accounts linked to RT.

Source: The Guardian