Twitter has taken action to stop a spam operation that pushed messages from fake accounts about Black people abandoning the Democratic Party.
The company removed two fake accounts and deleted the account of a San Diego man who spammed the platform, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.
The fake accounts were purported to be run by Black people whose viral tweets received tens of thousands of shares in the past month. One of the accounts, @WentDemToRep, logged over 11,000 retweets on a single tweet that claimed that the user was a lifelong Democrat who was pushed to vote Republican by the Black Lives Matter movement. The tweet was posted shortly after the account was created Tuesday.
The WentDemToRep account quickly tagged two other accounts in a reply, @PeterGammo and @KRon619, which were suspended at the same time Tuesday. The Twitter spokesperson said all three accounts were suspended for spam and, “specifically, artificially manipulative behavior.”
Disinformation experts and national security agencies are gearing up for the election, anticipating that social media platforms will continue to be central to foreign and domestic efforts to mislead voters.
The fake accounts, which used the images of Black men for their profile pictures, had five separate posts with at least 10,000 retweets. Recent attempts to co-opt the identities of African Americans to simulate support for President Donald Trump in the run-up to the election have had success online, researchers say.