There's a fake police chief loose in the tweetosphere. An anonymous Twitter user has created a fake account for Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, using an imposter profile to post several controversial and bizarre tweets criticizing both the chief and the Austin Police Department.
Where the real chief's Twitter handle matches his name (@ArtAcevedo), the fake account switched one vowel (@ArtAcevado) so that it appears almost identical. On top of the slight spelling difference, the fake Twitter account has taken further measures to imitate the real chief by using the same profile picture and cover photo.
The real police chief tweeted on Wednesday evening warning his followers about the fake account and asking them to assist in reporting it to Twitter.
An almost identical Twitter account with my name spelled Acevado is impersonating me. Please block & report offensive tweets to Twitter.— Chief Art Acevedo (@ArtAcevedo) December 18, 2014
The official APD account responded to an inquiry on Twitter stating that it was in the process of reporting the fake account. Twitter does allow parody accounts to remain active as long as they clearly distinguish themselves from the original account. According to the Twitter help center, the fake account cannot share the same profile picture or the same handle as the original account without an identifier such as "not" or "fake." The fake account's bio must also declare that it not be confused with the original account —which is the only guideline the fake chief has met.
The fake account's first tweet dates back to December 13, stating "I really love myself. I love having time to myself so I can admire random photos." As of Thursday morning, the profile had almost 300 followers.
Some of the controversial tweets include:
Minorities really need to stop fighting and running from the police. It will save your lives.— ChiefArt Acevado (@ArtAcevado) December 17, 2014
"I can't breath!" Get real, if you can talk, then you can breathe! Those games aren't played by the cops in my city.— ChiefArt Acevado (@ArtAcevado) December 14, 2014
Reminder: If you know gun enthusiasts, PLEASE CONTACT APD. They can then be added into the data base for officer safety.— ChiefArt Acevado (@ArtAcevado) December 17, 2014
This isn't the first time APD has been impersonated on Twitter. In 2009, the department successfully lobbied to get the fake @AustinPD account removed from the social media service.