Twitter shuts down fake police page

March 24, 2009 at 4:04 PM

AUSTIN, Texas, March 24 (UPI) -- Social networking Web site Twitter has shut down an account that falsely claimed to be affiliated with the police department of Austin, Texas.

The "AustinPD" page, which was created in 2008, had featured the official City of Austin seal and published comments pretended to be from real Austin police officers, the Austin American-Statesman reported Tuesday.

"Although some may dismiss the site as a simple prank or minor irritant, the fact is that the information presented was false and misleading and could lead to unwarranted concern by the public," Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday.

The page, which had about 450 followers, now states that it "has been suspended due to strange activity."

Anne Morgan, Austin's chief of litigation, said officials learned about the page about a week and a half ago and immediately lobbied Twitter to have it taken down.

"What we really wanted was for Twitter to take the page down and educate people that it wasn't a police department site," Morgan said. "We didn't want people thinking police officers were making those comments."

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