The anonymous Twitter user behind a parody of Northcliffe Media chief executive Steve Auckland has been accused of hacking into a company email account.
As reported earlier this month, the regional publisher is taking legal action in a bid to unmask the identity of the ‘obsessive’ tweeter known as @UnSteveDorkland.
Legal documents filed in the US say the mystery account holder had hacked into a company email account, posted information gained from surveillance of Northcliffe employees, and made staff “fear for their safety.”
The account holder has told the BBC and other media outlets that he denies “all accusations of illegal conduct set out in this document”.
Twitter is understood to have told the account holder it will comply with Northcliffe’s request and reveal the user’s details on Wednesday, 1 August.
However according to the BBC, the account holder is to challenge the decision with the help of a lawyer who is offering his services free of charge.
A court document filed at California Northern District Court in San Francisco said that some of the information he posted on Twitter had not previously been known publicly.
“On information and belief, the only way that such information could be obtained was by hacking into an email account at the plaintiff’s business,” it stated.
It also accused the account holder of posting information “apparently obtained from surveillance of plaintiff’s employees”, as well as engaging in other fraudulent and defamatory activity.
Northcliffe is making no further comment on the matter pending the outcome of the legal process.
Steve Auckland previously said in a statement: “I can confirm we have taken action to ask Twitter for help in identifying the individual in order to protect our staff from harassment.
“Some of the recent anonymous activity on Twitter has been both obsessive and offensive. I will not tolerate any form of harassment of Northcliffe Media’s employees, especially from anonymous sources.”