The Russian troll farm that bought ads pointing to fake news on Facebook also ran a fake Twitter account impersonating the Tennessee Republican Party.
While the account has now been permanently suspended, Buzzfeed says the platform refused to take the account down for months even though the real party reported it thrice for impersonation since 2016. @TEN_GOP reached 136,000 followers between November 15 to August this year, just before Twitter finally yanked it offline.
Within that timeframe, the account consistently tweeted out pro-Trump, anti-Obama, anti-Clinton, anti-mainstream media and anti-Islam sentiments. The account is now gone, but snapshots saved by Wayback Machine give a taste of what it used to tweet.
According to Buzzfeed, the account tweeted a photo of a Cleveland Cavaliers NBA championship parade and claimed it was a crowd waiting to hear Trump speak. @TEN_GOP’s real identity was first unearthed by Russian’s RBC News as part of a report that details its country’s efforts to influence politics in the U.S.
Tennessee Republican Party’s communications director showed emails dated September 17, 2016; March 1, 2017; and August 14, 2017, to Buzzfeed reporting the fake account.
Twitter has not responded to a request for comment, and the company refused to talk to Buzzfeed.