Twitter suspends fake Steve Jobs account, then backtracks

A fake Steve Jobs account that made waves when it was quoted by a reporter thinking it was the real Steve Jobs was removed from Twitter. It's back up, but is that permanent?

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read
It seemed that these were ceoSteveJobs' final tweets. Screenshot by CNET

Updated at 9:30 a.m. PT: The account is accessible once again. Updated at 10:15 a.m. PT: The account has apparently been renamed.

Twitter suspended a popular (and fake) Steve Jobs Twitter account recently, only to see the page come back up today.

When people had been attempting to access @ceoSteveJobs, a message would state that the "profile you are trying to view has been suspended." The suspension of @ceoSteveJobs was discovered yesterday by technology blog Geek Smack. In addition, when people would try to click on @ceoSteveJobs in a tweet, a message would state that the "user does not exist."

However, at some point this morning, the account popped back up on Twitter. For a while, tweets were visible. As of this writing, they are no longer visible, though the account is accessible.

In its place, a new Twitter account has popped up, called @fakeceoSteve, which includes the former @ceoSteveJobs' tweets and the full follower count, indicating it could be the new home for the former Twitter destination.

Unfortunately, Twitter isn't saying what the status of @ceoSteveJobs is. The company would not provide any details to CNET on why so many changes have been made to the account yesterday and today and said that it wouldn't comment on "alleged user violations."

The @ceoSteveJobs Twitter account had more than 460,000 followers. It is normally updated with comedic comments several times a day, all pretending to come from Apple's CEO. The account's bio does state that it is a parody.

Prior to its suspension, @ceoSteveJobs was on a long list of Steve Jobs parodies, including Fake Steve Jobs, a satirical blog penned by Dan Lyons. For years, that blog was the subject of much controversy (and delight for those who read it) over the blogger's real identity. Lyons was finally revealed as its author in 2007.

The fake Steve Jobs Twitter account was under the radar until last June when The Daily Mail, one of the most popular newspapers in the U.K., ran a story about the iPhone 4's antenna problems and quoted from the fake account. The story was quickly retracted after the publication discovered that the "Steve Jobs" it was quoting was the parody Twitter account.

Although Twitter didn't provide any explanation for why it had recently suspended @ceoSteveJobs, the person behind the Twitter account reportedly told TechCrunch in January that the social network had requested an end to the "impersonation." Twitter apparently said that it had received a complaint about the account, which prompted the action.

The person behind @ceoSteveJobs expressed a belief at the time that Apple was behind the complaint, though the company never confirmed that. Twitter had requested that changes be made to @ceoSteveJobs within 48 hours or that it would remove the account, TechCrunch had reported.

Steve Jobs parodies are still alive and well on Twitter. And people who enjoyed the musings of the fake Steve Jobs are saying now that the person behind @ceoSteveJobs has moved to a new account: @iJobsy. That account was started late last night. It already has nearly 600 followers and features the same comedic sensibilities as the former favorite.

The @ceoSteveJobs tweet that the Daily Mail thought was real.
The ceoSteveJobs tweet that the Daily Mail thought was real. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET