Manipulating the internet to create fake Twitter sites may not be the best idea for comedians prior to the 2020 presidential election. Democratic candidates and voters have been warned about the possibility of the Republicans creating the fake sites, so they are alert. This was something entirely different.
The humor machine tweeted out that senior Communications Adviser for the Pete Buttigieg presidential campaign, Lis Smith, was accused of manipulating a fake Nigerian Buttigieg supporter.” However, Buttigieg’s campaign denied the charges, and she denied it specifically.
The idea appeared to be that the real Lis Smith was the person behind an account for someone called “Chinedu.” The bio that was supposed to be the real Smith claimed that she was someone who loves “wine and dancing.” A screenshot indicated that this person was the real Smith.
The evidence for this allegation purported to be that there was also a tweet where the real Smith slipped and wrote some Buttigieg info. However, this was not exactly “proof:”
‘TEAM PETE. HEY IT’S LIS. IT’S PHASE 4. TIME TO LEAVE IT ALL ON THE FLOOR. PHONE BANKERS, “WE NEED YOU.”‘
The question becomes: Who has been creating fake sites to enhance their campaigns, if anyone? Although this has been treated as a big joke, there was nothing funny about the very real concerns voters have.
After the theory began making the rounds, the “Chinedu” account tweeted to mock the allegations, blaming “Bernie Bros.”
The @easychinedu account was removed by Sunday afternoon. The Business Insider found some accounts with similar profiles:
‘INSIDER HAS IDENTIFIED INSTAGRAM AND LINKEDIN ACCOUNTS WITH SIMILAR PROFILES TO THE @EASYCHINEDU TWITTER ACCOUNT — INCLUDING SIMILAR PHOTOS AND AN EXPRESSION OF INTEREST IN WINE. THE OWNERS OF THOSE ACCOUNTS DID NO IMMEDIATELY RESPOND FOR COMMENT.’
Smith said she knew about the allegations but called it an “absurd” conspiracy theory:
‘YEA GUYS I TOTALLY HAVE THE TIME TO BE RUNNING A SOCK PUPPET ACCOUNT FROM NIGERIA. FIND BETTER CONSPIRACIES!’
Matt Corridoni, the campaign’s deputy rapid response communications director, denied the allegations in a statement emailed to Business Insider.
BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN RAPID RESPONSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECT CLAIMED THE ALLEGATIONS WERE FALSE IN A STATEMENT EMAILED TO BUSINESS INSIDER.NIGERIAN SHADOW ACCOUNT CONSPIRACY THEORIES ARE THE NEW RAT EMOJIS. SAD BUT NOT SURPRISING.’
When he was asked if the Buttigieg campaign was officially denying Smith came up with the fake account, Coridoni said that they considered it “an online conspiracy theory:”
‘OF COURSE WE ARE BECAUSE THIS IS VERY OBVIOUSLY AN ONLINE CONSPIRACY THEORY. QUITE SHOCKED YOU’D THINK OTHERWISE.’
Other reporters considered the theory a joke. The New York magazine’s Olivia Nuzzi pointed to email scams. She wrote:
‘[SMITH] ASKED ME FOR MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AND THE NAME OF THE STREET I GREW UP ON…OR ELSE I COULDN’T HAVE A PRESS CREDENTIAL TO COVER PETE.’
Italien Feeld described himself/herself as
‘CO-HOST & PRODUCER OF THE @QANONANONYMOUS PODCAST. WRITE ABOUT ONLINE COMMUNITIES, DYSTOPIA, POLITICS, ELECTION FUN. ALSO TAKE PHOTOS. GLASS CANNON.’
He made light of the “sock puppet account for a “Nigerian Pete Supporter.”
‘A BIG THANKS TO LIS SMITH, WHO RUNS THE BUTTIGIEG CAMPAIGN, FOR MAKING MY SUNDAY SO MUCH LIGHTER BY RUNNING A SOCK PUPPET ACCOUNT FOR A “NIGERIAN PETE SUPPORTER”, USING IT TO GIVE HERSELF COMPLIMENTS (!!!) & THEN FORGETTING TO SWITCH ACCOUNTS’
Another fake Twitter account put up by a “ubiquitous Twitter pundit” from “Russian Клионский:”
‘LAGOS-BASED #1 BERNIE FAN @DAVIDKLION NEWS EDITOR @JEWISHCURRENTS, WRITER @THENATION, @NEWREPUBLIC, ETC, “UBIQUITOUS TWITTER PUNDIT” PER NEW YORK MAGAZINE. KLEE-ON, FROM THE RUSSIAN КЛИОНСКИЙ’
Italien Feeld retweeted a tweet from Chinedu noting that “they are trying to throw you.” So who was Italien Feeld and was he or she real? Apparently, this is an ap and self-describes as “a weekly podcast (and support group).” It featured “writers and comedians” and discussed Qanon conspiracy theories aka “Deep State agents:”
‘QANON ANONYMOUS IS A WEEKLY PODCAST (AND SUPPORT GROUP) FEATURING JAKE Q AND JULIAN Q — WRITERS AND COMEDIANS WHO DISCUSS, EXAMINE, FIGHT ABOUT & RECOVER FROM THE QANON CONSPIRACY THEORY. DON’T TAKE IT FROM US, THOUGH. WE MIGHT BE DEEP STATE AGENTS.’
Check out some of the other Twitter opinions below:
Featured pic is a screenshot via YouTube.
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