City Battles Fake Mayor Huether Twitter Account
Parody Account of Sioux Falls Mayor Causes Stir From City
There is no question Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether is an eccentric personality.
Last week, he appeared to bring some of that excitement to the twitter world.
City of Sioux Falls Communications Specialist Heather Hitterdal said, however, it came as an unpleasant surprise.
“That account followed the City of Sioux Falls so they were attempting to be kind of obvious about it,” said Hitterdal.
The one problem is that Hitterdal says the real Mike Huether does not have a Twitter account.
“It is something we are taking seriously we do want people to know it is a fake account. Mayor Huether is not tweeting at anyone right now, personally,” said Hitterdal.
Originally, the account made no mention of its parody intentions.
Over the last day, it has added a bio mentioning it is “not really” the mayor and calling itself “Alt Mike Huether.”
Laura Mitchell, Director of Digital Marketing with Lawrence and Schiller, said fake accounts can create more harm than humor.
“That’s also a high concern to have their name be misrepresented or to have somebody else to pretend to be someone they’re not is always a fear of ours,” said Mitchell.
Twitter has a policy on their website requiring parody accounts to identify themselves as fake.
Mitchell also said they offer “impersonation reports”
“You can fill out a reason why someone is impersonating you or something that you have found and ask for it to shut down. In some cases, the account may be suspended,” said Mitchell.
Minnehaha County State’s Attorney Aaron McGown said there is no legal action that could be taken at the state level.
Although there may not be much the city can do, Hitterdal said they do not look at the account as a laughing matter.
“It’s a great tool to get information out to our citizens. Unfortunately, some other people choose to use it as a weapon to spread false information and to spew hatred and say things that aren’t true. It’s unfortunate people choose to spend their time that way,” said Hitterdal.
The owner of the “Alt Mike Huether” account said the following in a statement via Twitter to KDLT:
“The intent of the account is mainly to have fun….As for other purposes, hopefully it teaches elected officials to lock down accounts with their names sooner. The mayor has a habit of being closed off from the public and not transparent so I’m just trying to add some fake transparency for him. If he promises to start answering peoples (medias) questions more often, I’d be willing to give him the account.”
The City of Sioux Falls said it has reported the account to Twitter.
They are also pursuing other options against the fake account.