With the 2020 presidential election closely approaching, Republicans are going to desperate lengths in hopes of a Trump reelection. Twitter uncovered over two dozen fake accounts posing as black Trump supporters.
On Tuesday, Twitter confirmed it removed the fake accounts as it looks to crack down on misinformation heading into the 2020 election. A Twitter spokesperson said:
‘Our teams are working diligently to investigate this activity and will take action in line with the Twitter Rules if Tweets are found to be in violation. Presently, we’ve taken action on some of the Tweets and accounts…for violations of our policies on platform manipulation and spam.’
One such account, which only ran for six days, featured the image of a black police officer and the words “VOTE REPUBLICAN.” The ad garnered 24,000 followers, with its most popular tweet being liked 75,000 times. On Sunday, the account was suspended by Twitter for breaking its rules against platform manipulation.
Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill had been tracking fake accounts like this one since last weekend, and found a network of more than two dozen similar accounts, many of them using identical language in their tweets, had generated more than 265,000 retweets or other amplifying “mentions” on Twitter.
According to The Washington Post:
‘Researchers call fake accounts featuring supposed Black users “digital blackface,” a reference to the now-disgraced tactic of White people darkening their faces for film or musical performances intended to mimic African Americans.’
Make of the fake accounts used profile pictures of Black men taken from news reports or other sources. The Post reported:
‘Several of the accounts claimed to be from members of groups with pro-Trump leanings, including veterans, police officers, steelworkers, businessmen and avid Christians.’
‘It’s asymmetrical warfare. They don’t have to last long. And they are so cheap to produce that you can get a lot of traction without a whole lot of work. Thank you, Twitter.’
The use of fake black Twitter accounts seems to have been going on throughout much of Trump’s presidency.
Featured image is a screenshot via Youtube