Story at a glance
- In the days since George Floyd’s death, activists and organizers have used social media to communicate their message and plans for action.
- Fake left-wing accounts have spread disinformation and some are even inciting violence.
- Twitter says it is investigating these fake accounts and suspending or removing those that violate their rules.
A fake “Antifa” Twitter account was removed after a post broke the social media platform’s rules against inciting violence.
"This account violated our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts," a Twitter spokesperson told CNN. "We took action after the account sent a Tweet inciting violence and broke the Twitter Rules."
The fake account, @ANTIFA_US, tweeted on May 31, "ALERT Tonight's the night, Comrades Tonight we say "F**k The City" and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours #BlacklivesMaters #F**kAmerica."
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A screenshot of the tweet was shared by Donald Trump, Jr. on Instagram, who said “Just remember what ANTIFA really is. A Terrorist Organization!”
"Antifa," an abbreviation for anti-facism, is a political protest movement composed of independent groups that are loosely affiliated by their belief in militant opposition to facism and other far right-wing ideologies. But Twitter said the account was actually linked to Identity Evropa, a white power fraternity that dissolved and reformed under the name the American Identitarian Movement in 2019.
The Tweet was one of many online posts that have spread misinformation amid ongoing protests across the United States against police brutality and systemic racism.
The hashtag #DCblackout went viral on June 1 after first being shared by several fake accounts, Twitter told the Washington Post. Accompanying posts falsely claimed that law enforcement had jammed the phones of protesters who had gathered downtown for the third night in a row.
During a press conference later that day, DC Police Chief Peter Newsham denied the reports.
“There was no communications loss that I saw, in any way shape or form. I don't know where that came from, and that's why I rarely take a lot of the information that I get from social media on its face," he said.
Twitter has stepped up its response to fake accounts and misinformation in recent months, as competitor Facebook comes under increased scrutiny for its inaction.
In response, Twitter spokesman Brandon Borrman told the Washington Post, “We’re taking action proactively on any coordinated attempts to disrupt the public conversation around this issue. We are actively investigating the hashtag #DCblackout and during that process have already suspended hundreds of spammy accounts that tweeted using the hashtag.”
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