Many of the Twitter accounts deleted shared certain similarities, including the content they shared, as well as some of the accounts following each other.
Twitter has suspended a handful of fake accounts claiming to be operated by Black Trump supporters, with the social media platform saying that the accounts break its rules against platform manipulation.
In a report from the Washington Post, accounts such as @CopJrCliff and others were suspended this past weekend. Certain fake Black pro-Trump accounts were popular on the platform; @CopJrCliff, which featured an image of a Black police officer, had garnered 24,000 followers since first becoming active last week. The account became known for tweeting pro-Trump posts like “YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!!!” and others.
Per Washington Post:
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.
The tactic, which is referred to as “digital blackface,” is discussed in the report, with experts speaking to how easy it is to make these fake accounts, which creates a challenge in suspending them before they’ve already misled people. This was the case with the @CopJrCliff account. Although the account claims that the officer is in a swing state in Pennsylvania, the actual photo is of an officer from Portland named Jakhary Jackson. Jackson claims he doesn’t have social media nor does he live in Pennsylvania.
Trenton Kennedy, a spokesman for Twitter, addressed the fake accounts and said the social media platform removed them for violating rules against platform manipulation and spam.
“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.
Experts noted that the accounts popped up more following the GOP convention, which prominently featured Black speakers and other speakers of color such as Sen. Tim Scott, former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley and Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.