It was one of the strangest things I’ve seen related to Twitter on TV. The host of a popular comedy show killing his show’s Twitter account with the help of a Twitter founder. But that’s what Stephen Colbert did with Twitter founder Biz Stone on Monday’s show, and the Colbert Report’s account is now gone.
Perhaps it will turn out to be some strange April Fool’s prank. But I don’t think so. The segment happened after Colbert responded to concerns about the #CancelColbert campaign that started on Thursday, where a joke he made was tweeted out of context, offending some who felt it was offensive to Asians. Others felt even in context, it was still offensive.
The Colbert Report Account, Official, But Not Run By Colbert
The tweet was made by the @ColbertReport account, which was the official account for The Colbert Report and until Monday’s show had just over 1 million followers:
The account was run by Comedy Central, the network that carries the Colbert Report, not by Colbert or anyone actually on his show’s staff. Colbert himself (almost certainly helped by his own staffers at time), tweets from @stephenathome.
Blowing Up @ColbertReport
Colbert, talking with guest Biz Stone, one of Twitter’s founders, said he wanted to make sure that it “never happens again” that someone is confused whether a tweet has come from him or someone who actually works on the show. Could Stone help? Stone replied that he did have a “kill switch” that could be used, and a giant detonator came out:
After a brief explosion, Colbert announced that the @ColbertReport account — which he said the network had given him control over — was gone. And indeed, it was:
It certainly fits in with the “dramatic conclusion” that Colbert had earlier promised:
Tune in tonight for the dramatic conclusion of how my show did not conclude! #NotCanceled
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) April 1, 2014
Colbert’s own account is still active and presumably he’ll continue to tweet from that. I’d said earlier that he’s probably helped by show staff, and that’s because at times, his tweets are done through the SocialOomph service, rather than from the web or via iPhone. My assumption is the service is used for scheduled tweets, and I further assume that Colbert is busy enough that he’s not trying to schedule all that stuff himself. But perhaps he is.
The show’s Comedy Central site itself has yet to catch-up with the change. The Twitter icon there still leads to the @colbertreport account. The lack of a change could indicate that this is indeed some April Fool’s prank, not worth making a change to the web site itself over. Or, it could just be that the site has yet to be updated.
But Comedy Central Still Runs Facebook & Google+ Accounts?
Colbert needn’t worry much about losing those 1 million followers of the account. His own personal account has over 6 million. However, it doesn’t solve what he presented as part of the reason for the confusion / concern over relating to the #CancelColbert campaign, that of having someone not working for his show speaking for it — and him — on social media.
That’s because, most notably, the Colbert Report continues to have its own Facebook account (Colbert himself doesn’t even appear to be on Facebook). The Colbert Report also maintains its own Google+ account. Potentially, something the network posts on the Colbert Report’s Facebook page or at Google+ could cause the same issue as happened with Twitter.
I’m checking with Comedy Central to see if the network is still going to control those other social media accounts, as well as if this all was indeed real or not. As for the show, read about Colbert’s response to #CancelColbert in these good write-ups from The Hollywood Reporter and Deadline. Below is the actual clip of his response, which was followed by the separate segment (also below) where he closed his Twitter account: