Twitter suspends phony accounts posing as Black Trump supporters

Oct. 14 (UPI) — Social platform Twitter said it has suspended phony accounts that boast about belonging to Black Americans who enthusiastically support President Donald Trump.

The accounts have been suspended for violating Twitter policies against spam and misinformation, a company spokesperson said.

One account with the name @CopJrCliff, which attracted 24,000 followers and was liked 75,000 times in a matter of days, claimed to be a Pennsylvania police officer and included the message, “Yes, I’m Black and I’m voting for Trump.” It also included a photo of a Black officer with Trump.

The officer in the photo was actually Portland, Ore., police officer Jakhary Jackson, who told The Washington Post he doesn’t have a Twitter account. He sent his driver’s license and social security information to Twitter to prove his identity and the company suspended the account.

Darren Linville, a social media researcher at Clemson University, said a network of other phony accounts with identical language indicating Black support for Trump had generated 265,000 retweets and mentions before the platform’s censors could put a stop to them. It’s a trend experts call “digital blackface.”

“It’s asymmetrical warfare,” Linvill said. “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.”

A Twitter representative told CNBC it is constantly on the hunt for such fake accounts and suspend them as soon as they are identified.

“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,” the company said.

“Presently, we’ve taken action on some tweets and accounts for violations of our policies on platform manipulation and spam.”

Twitter said last week it expanded its

Twitter suspends accounts claiming to be Black Trump supporters over spam, manipulation

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc on Tuesday said it had suspended a number of accounts that claimed to be owned by Black supporters of President Donald Trump and his re-election campaign, saying the accounts broke its rules on spam and platform manipulation.

“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,” a spokeswoman for the social media company said.

A review by Reuters of some of the suspended accounts showed they often used images of real people that did not match their names and posted identical language in their messages, including the phrase: “YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!!!”

The accounts sometimes claimed to be owned by military veterans or members of law enforcement.

Darren Linvill, a social media disinformation researcher at Clemson University who said he had been tracking the accounts since Saturday, found more than two dozen accounts that collectively had 265,000 retweets or Twitter mentions. He said the accounts ranged in size but some had attracted tens of thousands of followers.

Twitter declined to specify the number of accounts suspended or to comment beyond its statement.

Twitter’s policy against platform manipulation and spam prohibits coordination among accounts to artificially influence conversation, including the use of multiple or fake accounts.

Linvill said some of the accounts used photos of Black American men that had appeared in news articles. Some used identical images of Trump as their header image.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the investigation, which was first reported by the Washington Post.

Linvill told Reuters that most of the accounts were created in 2017, but had become more active in the past two months. He said all the accounts

Fake Black Trump supporters appear mysteriously on Twitter, reach thousands, then vanish

Then, on Sunday, the account was gone — suspended by Twitter for breaking its rules against platform manipulation.

The remarkable reach of @CopJrCliff and other fake accounts from supposed Black Trump supporters highlights how an account can be effective at pushing misleading narratives in just a few days — faster than Twitter can take it down.

A network of more than two dozen similar accounts, many of them using identical language in their tweets, recently has generated more than 265,000 retweets or other amplifying “mentions” on Twitter, according to Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill, who has been tracking them since last weekend. Several had tens of thousands of followers, and all but one have now been suspended.

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.

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. One of the fake accounts had, in the place of a profile photo, the words “black man photo” — a hint of sloppiness by the network’s creators.

“It’s asymmetrical warfare,” said Linvill, lead researcher for the Clemson University Media Forensics Hub. “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.”

Linvill said he found some evidence of foreign origins of the network, with a few traces of the Russian Cyrillic alphabet appearing in online records of the accounts. One account previously tweeted to promote an escort service in

Twitter slaps warning on President Trump tweet claiming coronavirus immunity

US President Trump has become subject to another fact-check warning on social media after claiming immunity to COVID-19.

In a tweet posted on Sunday, the US president claimed that physicians at the White House have given him a clean bill of health, and as a result, he is now “immune” to further infection by the novel coronavirus. 

Trump also claimed he is no longer contagious. 

See also: Twitter places public interest notice on President Trump’s tweet

“A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday,” the tweet reads. “That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know!!!”

After the message was published, Twitter slapped a warning label on the tweet. The microblogging platform says the tweet “violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”

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There are currently no concrete indicators that immunity from COVID-19 is assured following infection, and if resistance is built up due to the production of antibodies, it is not possible to know if an immune response is strong enough to fight off another case of the respiratory illness. 

In a statement on Saturday, White House physician Sean Conley said that Trump was no longer considered a “transmission risk to others,” but did not disclose if the president is now testing negative.

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While Twitter may wipe out such messages and remove profiles entirely if they are spreading fake content surrounding the pandemic, as Trump is a significant political figure, the organization has chosen to keep the tweet accessible in the public interest. 

This is not the first time the US president has fallen afoul of Twitter’s rules. In May, a tweet posted by the US president was