New law targets fake celebrity Twitter and Facebook pages. Phony Nick Noltes beware!

Chuck-Norris-NolteImage Credit: Florian Seefried/Getty Images; Albert L. Ortega/PRThe authorities are cracking down on social media, folks! There’s a new law in California that prohibits impersonating another individual online for the purposes of “harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding a person.” Interesting. So your plan to create a phony Justin Bieber account and accumulate a few million screeching Twitter followers could get you tossed in the slammer?! And what about fake celeb tweeters like @ChuckNorris_ and @Nick_Nolte? Are the authorities coming after them? Not necessarily, says L.A. entertainment lawyer Alonzo Wickers. “If someone online is doing an impersonation that’s clearly humorous and designed to mock or ridicule the celebrity, I don’t think that’s going to be made illegal by this new bill,” he explains. “There’s strong First Amendment protection for that kind of stuff.” In fact, a non-humorous fake celeb page is still tough to take down unless someone can prove that it causes real harm to the celebrity involved.

Perhaps more important in all this is the simple fact that the phenomenon of fake Twitter and Facebook profiles has dwindled since the sites started self-policing (hence the “Verified Account” badge on bona fide celeb Twitter feeds), making the need for a bill like this seems slightly less than urgent than, for example, a law forbidding Twitter TMI or excessive Facebook status updates. Now there’s legislation I could get behind.

What do you think, PopWatchers: Do fake celeb Twitter and Facebook accounts pose a real problem? And what other laws would you like to see slapped on social networking?

Comments (23 total) Add your comment
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  • Devo

    NOLTE, Nick NOLTE.

    • HorseHockey

      we are Devo! D-E-V-O!

  • GrumpyMan

    Who the hell do these celebrities think they are? If I want to wear a dress, color my hair brunette, wear glasses, walk down the street, and call myself Tina Fey, then I should be allowed to do that. Since I am and since I do it almost everyday, then I should be allowed to do the same thing on the computer. Now they want to take our rights? This is awful and unconstitutional!!

    • Auds

      GrumpyMan, I can see you’re not the brightest bulb so I’ll spare you the contempt, but any dope can walk around in real life pretending to be their fave celeb… no one will believe them. With Twitter or Facebook tho, they can impersonate them and be believable. While I don’t think this is criminal activity, I do think it’s great these sites are shutting down these scam artists.

  • Liz

    Oh EW. What’s up with you lately? Typos, tardy news, no kind of proofing whatsoever. Come on EW, where is the entertainment site I know and love?

  • Joe

    Seriously, “Liz” is right.

    The feds are not going to enforce a California state law.

    I know this is an “entertainment” website and not the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, but some sort of editorial review should catch these obvious mistakes that detract from a story. Sloppy.

  • Aw He!! No

    NotKennyRogers is one of the funniest dudes on there.

  • Nana

    I wonder if the law applies to non-celebrities as well. If it does, it could probably be applied to teens who impersonate other teens online and use the fake profiles as a form of cyberbullying.

    • Allison

      That would be the best purpose for the law – I hope something similar to that catches on in states that aren’t as celebrity-heavy.

    • Justine

      non-celebrities hmm, I hope they don’t count Lord Voldemort as one. He can be mean but also so so awesome.

  • Vanessa

    Despite some people’s opinions, I think this is a good idea. A lot of people have been fooled by fake twitter accounts and hurt when they find out that a celebrity they thought tweeted or mentioned them was a fake.

  • damexyboiwizzy

    on facebook the celebrity there are mostly find the wrong celebrity that you taught were real.

  • mcissquared

    I want the fakers gone! I love Free Speech as much as anyone, but this is a form of identity theft. We act like celebrities aren’t people too sometimes, but I feel it’s unfair for some of their rights to be less protected than ours.

  • Menchy

    Anyone else follow M_Ahmadinejad? Possibly the funniest fake Twitter ever.

  • Msa

    The problem with the fakes is when the gossip media sites reprint quotes and comments they have made.

  • J.W. Sr.

    This is a good thing. I am tired of these fake sites. Further, although Twitter is a great thing, here is a warning…if you tweet something negative about another company or even a person and harm them (and or cost them money), it is possible to get sued. A general rule: if you are not sure something is true, do not RT (tetweet) it! Besides, if you RT something that is fake or exaggerated, you will cause problems for some innocent person or company.

  • dj1063

    werty is selina gomez

  • Jennifer

    On Facebook, I typed in Garrett Hedlund and add him as a friend. I found out that it was a fake Pojke Hedlund. Tell like it is, maybe I will find the real Pojke.

  • Peter

    This law is hopefully applyable on such morans who is running around and pretend they are european royaltys or nobilitys There are several such morans in California s hope they will suffer hard now. I have knowledge about a couple of such and the states they are king:s and princes and princesses! Hope they will be jailed! as a TRUE nobility from Sweden (German decent) i want to clean such idiots out They are destroying for us all.
    There are also a couple of morans who think they are Princes and Princesses OK they have payed for adoptions But anyway they are FAKE! One of them is a wellknowned TV.profile in USA!

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