Good day stack overflowers.

Apparently someone has created a Twitter feed in my name and is using it to broadcast all the comments I post on Stack Overflow.

It was not my intention to create such a Twitter feed, and I am not at all pleased that someone has done so on my behalf. Whether someone has the legal or moral right to do so, I neither know nor particularly care, but I would have liked it a great deal to have been asked first, and I would like it to stop.

I recognize that it is of course technically impossible to prevent the rebroadcasting of data on public sites; in this case, the feed is associated with my name and my photo. It would be reasonable to assume that the content is there by my will, which it is not. If someone wants to rebroadcast my musings, they're free to do so from their own Twitter account.

That someone would create an account not controlled by me that purports to be me is disturbing in the extreme.

  • Is this service being provided by the good people at Stack Exchange, or is this some third party that's doing this? Based on the number of closed questions on Meta Stack Overflow suggesting this feature, I'm assuming that it's more likely a third party.

  • How I can make this stop?

Thanks all. I was hoping that my first question ever on Stack Exchange would be about something less vexing and more technical, but there you go.


The Twitter administrators agree that this is impersonation and have reassigned the account to me. In parallel, the person who created the account has contacted me, apologized, and has deleted the account. It appears to be a "one off" situation, rather than a concerted effort to make an army of Twitter bots rebroadcasting Stack Exchange comments.

Thanks all for your suggestions and well-wishes.

  • 11
    Ah, Twitter... Who can't you piss off?
    – Shog9
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:17
  • 2
    Aww, that's nasty. I'd say this falls squarely into Twitter's department - maybe fax them asking them to take the account down
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:17
  • 31
    @Pekka: fax? Is it, like, 1996 over at Twitter or something? :-) Jan 10, 2011 at 23:18
  • 3
    @Eric Just speaking from experience with german companies :) Fax = court-admissible evidence = more scary (May be different in the US) An E-Mail might do as well.
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:19
  • There's a comment on the account "[bot] If the real Eric wants this, please get in touch." (twitter.com/#!/ericlippert)
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:19
  • This is weird. A stalk-bot. Well, there's one of everything on the Internet.
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:20
  • Have tweeted mentioning the account, hoping that the bot author will see replies. I've directed them to this question...
    – Jon Skeet
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:21
  • 2
    @Pekka indeed see Rule 34 and Rule 35 ;)
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:37
  • That's majorly scary. It makes me feel a need to search twitter for my name...
    – John
    Jan 11, 2011 at 0:08
  • @John ~ I hate to burst your bubble, but I'm willing to bet you're not on a footing with EricLippert. See his profile.
    – jcolebrand
    Jan 11, 2011 at 0:26
  • @drachenstern: lol yeah... Still scary though.
    – John
    Jan 11, 2011 at 0:31
  • 14
    I like to think that we're all on an equal footing; we're all here to learn. And it doesn't matter who you are or what you do; having someone make a robot that impersonates you, even benignly, is reasonably vexing to anyone. Jan 11, 2011 at 0:36
  • 2
    @Ether - surely that's just 100 cross-site sign up bonus, plus 1 starting rep, plus 2 for accepted answer, plus 240 for 24 up-votes on this post? Jan 11, 2011 at 1:09
  • @martin: thanks; I must be hung over as I couldn't figure out how the math worked out. :)
    – Ether
    Jan 11, 2011 at 1:39

2 Answers 2


Is this service being provided by the good people at StackExchange, or is this some third party that's doing this? Based on the number of closed questions on meta suggesting this feature, I'm assuming that it's more likely a third party.

This is the work of a third party. Stack Exchange does not provide such a service.

Anyone have ideas on how I can make this stop?

Note that all your contributions are licensed under CC-BY-SA, with special attribution requirements. Since the attribution requirements are not being properly followed (links are not direct), you can file a takedown notice with Twitter. Even if they were properly attributing, Twitter has recourse for impersonation.

  • 1
    twitter.com/ericlippert# clearly an impersonation, should be easy to have taken down
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:24
  • Only the copyright holder, which in this case is SO, can issue a takedown request. They'll ignore it from anyone else. Jan 10, 2011 at 23:26
  • 11
    @Dan No, the OP is the copyright holder. SO is a licensee.
    – waiwai933
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:27
  • Thanks waiwai933, I have just filed an impersonation report. Jan 10, 2011 at 23:28
  • If CC-SA is the license being violated, it's a violation of the agreement with SO, not with the original person who wrote the text on SO. The text was first fixed in tangible form by StackOverflow publishing it. We are giving the text to SO which is licensing it to others under CC-SA. Jan 10, 2011 at 23:29
  • 1
    Anyway, it shouldn't matter. It's the impersonation that's the offense here, not the tweeting
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:31
  • 1
    @Dan No, the OP fixes it in tangible form by typing it up. Even SE admits they are a licensee—see the footer.
    – waiwai933
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:31
  • @waiwai933 That interpretation fails to parse as "attribution required" is a requirement on redistributors of SO content, not on SO for redistributing our content. The blog posts it's linked to backs that. It's SO licensing the contributions to others under cc-wiki. "user contributions licensed [to you for republishing] under cc-wiki with attribution required" Jan 10, 2011 at 23:38
  • @Dan See the last paragraph of this answer.
    – waiwai933
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:42

This of course has nothing to do with us, and we'd never consider creating an account that purports to be another user on Twitter.

Sounds like Eric filed an Impersonation Report, which is the correct course of action.


Impersonation is pretending to be another person or entity in order to deceive. Impersonation is a violation of the Twitter Rules and may result in permanent account suspension.

Twitter users are allowed to create parody, commentary, or fan accounts. Please refer to Twitter's Parody Policy for more information about these accounts. Accounts with the clear intent to confuse or mislead may be permanently suspended.

I do wish the author of this Twitter bot, whoever they are, had simply asked Eric first if this was OK before proceeding.. communication -- it works, people!

  • 13
    Did you just tie my answer in votes in 3 minutes? I'm starting to wonder whether you do manipulate the database... :)
    – waiwai933
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:41
  • 3
    Thanks Jeff, that is what I figured. I bring it to your attention here because there might be someone doing this wholesale; it likely would not be difficult to set up these bots en masse. I don't know if you can do anything about that, but better to be forewarned. Jan 10, 2011 at 23:53
  • 1
    This is starting to make sense now :D
    – Pekka
    Jan 10, 2011 at 23:55

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