Twitter suspended multiple fake accounts pretending to be Black supporters of President Donald Trump.
Many of these accounts had tweeted this identical phrase: “YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP.”
Twitter said the accounts violated rules against platform manipulation and spam, which ban users from tweeting to “artificially amplify or suppress information,” among other activities.
These fake accounts are the latest attempt at misinformation related to the 2020 presidential election in the form of fake Trump supporters.
A few suspended accounts compiled by Twitter said they followed the same pattern. They’d all joined Twitter recently; their Twitter handles usually included a reference to “MAGA” or “KAG,” Trump’s newer campaign slogan that stands for “Keep America Great;” and their profile pictures were often stock images of Black men and women.
The users would then resume making political comments after deleting the tweets, and thus deleting evidence of “financial motivation,” and would change photos and handles to avoid being detected by the platform, Sam Riddell, a cybersecurity analyst said.
After they built their follower base, the users behind the accounts would “periodically promote links to pro-Trump t-shirts for sale, urging followers to quickly purchase the merchandise before promptly deleting the promotional tweets.”
Earlier this month, Twitter suspended over 1,500 accounts, including over 100 that were hacked by actors in Iran to amplify “politically sensitive topics” like Black Lives Matter and the killing of George Floyd.
Similar tactics were used in the run-up to the 2016 election, when Black Americans were targeted more than any other group by Russian agents, who often created fake Twitter and Facebook accounts purported to belong to Black social justice activists.