Twitter suspends fake pro-Donald Trump accounts
- "Yes IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!" read one of the tweets
- "Libs wont like that but I dont care!!!" read another tweet
- Ahead of the presidential election, social media platforms have taken steps to dismantle disinformation
Twitter said on Tuesday it had suspended several fake accounts claiming to be African Americans who support President Donald Trump, AFP reported. Such accounts were able to garner several thousand followers in just a few days.
"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," said a Twitter spokesperson, AFP reported.
Darren Linvill, a professor at Clemson University who specializes in disinformation on social media, published some examples of the fake accounts on Twitter, accusing them of using "digital black face."
"Yes IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!" read one of the tweets.
"Libs wont like that but I dont care!!!" read another tweet, that was shared 6,000 times and liked over 16,000 times.
Twitter suspended the identified profiles because they were deceiving users about their intention and their identity, and were therefore deemed to be manipulating public debate.
The company forbids using the platform "to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people's experience on Twitter," according to guidelines published last month.
Social media platforms and the US presidential election
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter came under heavy criticism during and in the aftermath of the 2016 US presidential election when the platforms were used to peddle false or misleading information.
In the run-up to the 2020 election, platforms have made progress in dismantling large-scale disinformation campaigns but now face a number of smaller-scale attempts to disseminate falsehoods through accounts like those suspended on Tuesday.
The people behind such campaigns often use themes linked to current events and which inflame public opinion, such as the coronavirus or the Black Lives Matter movement, to draw in as many followers as possible.