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 Twitter on Tuesday halted an unknown number of fake accounts claiming to be Black people supporting Donald Trump, for breaching the platform’s ban on manipulating the site and spreading spam, while the company is investigating who is behind the accounts three weeks out from Election Day, the Washington Post first reported.

Key Facts

The accounts were identified for using uniform language in tweets that included things like: “YES I’M BLACK AND I’M VOTING FOR TRUMP”.

Some of the accounts were using “digital blackface”, according to Darren Linvill, an Associate Professor and Clemson University, meaning they falsely represented themselves by using photos of real Black people likely sourced from across the internet.

The Washington Post first reported that Twitter is investigating the accounts and their source, and could suspend other such fake accounts. 

Twitter said in a statement: “Our teams

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(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

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Twitter has reportedly suspended a number of accounts that claimed to be owned by Black supporters of Donald Trump.

According to the Washington Post, the social media giant confirmed the move Tuesday, stating the accounts in question had violated the platform’s rules against spam and manipulation. Twitter spokesman Trenton Kennedy told the publication the affected accounts were part of a network identified by Clemson University social media researcher Darren Linvill. The researcher noted that the more than two dozen accounts were using similar posting nearly identical messages, like: “YES IM BLACK AND IM VOTING FOR TRUMP!!!” and the #BlacksForTrump hashtag.

It was also noted that many of these profiles featured stolen photos from news articles, as the names on the account did not match the names listed in the news report. There was even one profile page that had the words “black man photo” as the avatar—”a hint of

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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

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