A spoof Jobcentre Plus Twitter account, which mocked welfare policies, has been reactivated after the government failed in its bid to silence the online feed.
Last month Twitter agreed to shut down the satirical account @UKJCP, following a complaint from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
The account, which operates under the name “UKJobCentrePlus not” and adapted the job placement body’s official logo, infuriated the ministry with tweets mocking Iain Duncain Smith and announcements such as “Rip-off fury as the Department of Work and Pensions owns up to 180 premium rate phone lines.”
However the account has been restored after its creators successfully petitioned Twitter, arguing that its suspension amounted to censorship by “effectively silencing criticism of UK Government.”
In the department’s complaint Jon Woodcock, the DWP's brand and public information manager, said: “The @UKJCP account has been set up with deliberate and malicious intent to devalue and criticise the work of Jobcentre Plus.
“There are a number of rude and potentially libelous tweets aimed at UK government, elected politicians and the heads of large private sector organisations who are committed to working with government on reducing unemployment.” The department said it wanted to take over the account and its 12,500 followers.
A DWP spokesperson said: “The changes we're making to the welfare system to ensure that work pays are important to many people, and we work hard to make sure claimants have access to correct factual information. We alerted twitter to an account that was falsely sending out tweets claiming to have been published by our official account. It's for twitter to decide what action is appropriate - we have not asked for any account to be taken down or suspended.”
Twitter permits parody accounts, as long as they are clearly marked as such, by the addition of a word such as “not”. The @UKJCP account calls itself “The Official Twitter channel for UK Job Centre Plus” and includes the DWP’s address in its header. Twitter had initially suspended the account for “privacy reasons”.
The spoof site celebrated its return with tweets including: “When employers follow the jobcentre trawler, it is because they think youth workfare sardines will be thrown into the sea, to sink or swim.”