San Francisco, October 14
Twitter has disabled several accounts posing as Black supporters of US President Donald Trump and his re-election campaign for breaking its rules against platform manipulation.
According to a report in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill tracked and found more than two dozen similar accounts, many of them using identical language in their tweets.
“Several had tens of thousands of followers and all but one have now been suspended,” the report said.
The network of more than two dozen similar accounts generated more than 265,000 retweets or other amplifying “mentions” on Twitter.
Many of the accounts used profile pictures of Black men taken from news reports or other sources.
“Several of the accounts claimed to be from members of groups with pro-Trump leanings, including veterans, police officers, steelworkers, businessmen and avid Christians”.
Twitter spokesperson Trenton Kennedy said Twitter took down some of the network identified by Linvill.
“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,” Kennedy said in a statement.
The network of fake accounts claiming to represent Black Trump supporters became increasingly active in the past two months.
“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,” the report mentioned.