Twitter Guide for Government Agencies: Alternate Accounts

Download the PDF: Thou Shalt Tweet! 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter


It is standard procedure for government organizations to register alternate site names to prevent squatters or spoofers. Unfortunately, this is forbidden under Twitter Rules and Twitter is pretty specific about it:

“Any accounts engaging in the activities specified below are subject to permanent suspension.”

  • Serial Accounts: You may not create serial accounts … with overlapping use cases.
  • Username Squatting: As far as Twitter is concerned, this includes “creating accounts for the purpose of preventing others from using those account names.”
  • Inactive Accounts: accounts that are inactive for more than 6 months may be removed without notice

So what can you do to avoid copycats, spoofers and spammers? Report any account that seems to be spoofing yours for malicious purposes but please be careful how you go about it (see commandment 5 on bullying)

Complete Listing of All 15 Twitter Commandments

This guide evolved from a post by Alain Lemay on GovLoop titled “Who Not to Follow On Twitter: A Guide for Public Sector Employees.” Alain is a Senior Web Communications Analyst for the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Agency in Canada. He graciously donated his time to assist in producing the 15 Commandments for Government Agencies on Twitter Guide in tandem with the GovLoop team.

  1. Thou Shalt Listen Before You Leap
  2. Thou Shalt Use Thy Profile Information Properly
  3. Thou Shalt Have a Disclaimer
  4. Thou Shalt Not Be a Bully (Nobody Likes a Bully!)
  5. Thou Shalt Tweet Regularly
  6. Thou Shalt Integrate My Tweet Approval Process
  7. Thou Shalt Not Register Alternate Accounts
  8. Thou Shalt Not Automate Thy Tweets
  9. Thou Tweet In the First Person
  10. Thou Shalt Not Bait and Switch
  11. Thou Shalt Not Spam
  12. Thou Shalt Be Selective About Who You Follow
  13. Thou Shalt Monitor Thy Account
  14. Thou Shalt Contribute to the Conversation
  15. Thou Shalt Measure for Success