Pornographer sells Twitter to Israel…

According to an article in Thursday’s Independent newspaper, a man in charge of Spain’s pornography has ‘sold’ his Twitter account to the country of Israel.

Bizarre as that might sound, Israel Melendez managed to set up a Twitter account with his first name, @israel, back when Twitter was still in its infancy, but gave up using it when it came under attack from people who didn’t believe it was just the musings of a Spanish maker of pornography and instead thought it was the state of Israel.

Rather than let it stay dormant, however, Melendez has apparently ‘sold’ the @israel user name on to the country for their Foreign Ministry to use instead.

Now, this all seems rather straight forward and simple to me, until I come to the paragraph that points out that the physical sale of Twitter user names from one individual to another is prohibited by Twitter itself:

“Mr Melendez told the Spanish publication Publico that he approached the Israelis as a joke, but ended up selling the username. Rather than selling it directly, a practice prohibited by Twitter, he ceded control by giving the Israelis his password. They then closed down the account to reopen it later.”
The Independent, 16 September 2010

According to The Independent, the actual figure that was passed from Israel to Israel is in dispute, with the Spanish porn king stating that he received a six figure sum, and the country saying they paid him the equivalent of £1’900.

But the bit I can’t understand is this: what is the difference between somebody ceding control of their account by simply giving the Israelis their password, and then receiving money for doing so, and somebody just ‘selling’ the user id anyway?

Surely, both are the same thing?  And both are therefore prohibited by Twitter?

And does anybody actually really care?

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