Fake 'ONI' Twitter account is fake, PM's department confirms

By Stephen Easton

July 27, 2017

A Twitter account pretending to represent the recently announced Office of National Intelligence has been shut down and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has confirmed it was a fake.

Technically, impersonating someone is against the terms and conditions of using the popular social media website — although the rule refers to doing so “in a confusing or deceptive manner” so it does not typically apply to obvious satire.

For example, another account that uses a version of the Australian coat of arms and has the handle @ASIO is still up and running, probably because its bio reads:

“The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is Australia’s national security service. Unlike the former, this is a joke.”

There’s also something about its tweets — maybe it’s the tone or the content — that would lead a reasonable observer to suspect it wasn’t actually the domestic security intelligence agency.

Of course, even if the new ONI does want to get on Twitter, which is doubtful, setting up the account would probably have to wait until it was actually established first. At present, it’s just a proposal from the recent L’Estrange intelligence review that Malcolm Turnbull has announced he is taking up.

Perhaps needlessly, PM&C  said:

“Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, an unknown party or parties has established fake social media profiles and a fake website for ONI.

“These are not official Australian Government accounts. The establishment of ONI is part of a detailed process to implement reforms to Australia’s intelligence and national security arrangements being overseen by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“No website or social media presences have been established for the ONI.”

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