Twitter suspends parody Tesco account

Twitter has suspended a parody Tesco account that had been tweeting the supermarket’s customers with expletive-filled messages in reply to their customer service queries and complaints.

Tesco Express
The parody Tesco Express Twitter account when it was active yesterday (1 September).

The @Tecso_Express account had carried an edited version of the Tesco logo, reading “Tecso” as its avatar and a bio reading “Sweary Tesco (But not actually Tesco) (Parody)”.

The account had originally been set up in 2011 but the account holder only became active over the past week, having posted more than 250 sweary tweets and @replies. It had gained more than 5,000 followers.

The account holder told Marketing Week they had been contacted by Twitter yesterday (1 September) via email with instructions saying they had 48 hours to change the avatar, background picture and account name. But the account holder, who wishes to remain anonymous, says when they try to make the required changes, they are presented with a message reading “forbidden”.

They added: “[I would have] thought Tesco would be happy with the free publicity as it was spreading very fast.”

A Tesco spokesman declined to comment on the news that the account had been suspended, but a spokesman told Marketing Week yesterday (1 September): “Parody accounts do spring up from time to time. Customers wanting to contact our rather more helpful customer service team can do so through @Tesco.”

Twitter told Marketing Week it does not comment on individual accounts.

Parody accounts are accepted on Twitter as long as the avatar is not the exact logo or trademark of the account subject; the bio contains a clear statement to distinguish it from the account subject, such as “Parody Account”; and if the account name is not the exact name of the account subject without another word, such as “not”, “fake” or “fan”.

Twitter says on its Help Center page it will only move to edit or remove user content in response to a Terms of Service violation or “valid legal process”.