Twitter has been ordered by the high court to reveal the identity of a parody account for JD Wetherspoon.
The @Wetherspoon__UK account has tweeted fake company updates since joining the social network in 2014, alongside a sister parody account, @SpoonsTom, which purportedly works for "Spoons Customer Service". The accounts have 40,000 and 13,800 followers respectively on Twitter.
The pub chain has complained that users mistakenly believe they are contacting the real company when they message @Wetherspoon__UK on Twitter. JD Wetherspoon removed its official Twitter account in April.
— WETHERSP00NS (@Wetherspoon__UK) October 20, 2018
Due to the ever expanding multiculturalism of our clientele we will be taking no part in this years poppy appeal campaign and no staff will be permitted to wear a poppy or any other political paraphernalia while working. We appreciate your understanding and continued support.
JD Wetherspoon's barrister, David Hirst, told the court yesterday that a tweet by the parody account about Wetherspoons not taking part in this year’s poppy appeal had led to a man asking "very heated questions" at the company’s annual general meeting.
During the World Cup in July, @Wetherspoons__UK tweeted that anyone wearing a waistcoat in a Wetherspoons pub during the England v Croatia semi-final would receive a free drink.
As it is #ENG? ?first #WorldCup? ? semi-final since 1990, it looks like Gareth Southgate won’t be the only one wearing a waistcoat on #WaistcoatWednesday. Anyone wearing a waistcoat in ANY of our pubs will receive one free drink during the #ENGCRO match. #ItsCominHome— WETHERSP00NS (@Wetherspoon__UK) July 11, 2018
Twitter, which has until mid-January to comply with the court’s ruling, did not oppose the application by JD Wetherspoon and has declined to comment.
Last year, the high court published a Twitter "how-to" guide as part of a landmark defamation case in which former MailOnline columnist Katie Hopkins was found to have defamed the writer Jack Monroe in a series of tweets.
The US government abandoned efforts last year to compel Twitter to reveal the identity of an anti-Donald Trump account after the social network filed a lawsuit against the justice department.