#Roommates, as the 2020 presidential election continues to inch closer than ever, there have been some very concerning trends developing on social media—specifically on Twitter. Twitter is cracking down on a host of fake accounts posing as black Trump supporters, which leads to the bigger issue of “digital blackface.”
According to @WashingtonPost, earlier this week Twitter officially suspended dozens of fake accounts claiming to be Black people supporting Donald Trump for breaching the social media platform’s ban on manipulating the site and spreading spam. Twitter is also continuing to investigate exactly who is behind the fake accounts as Election Day is just weeks away. The accounts were identified for using uniform language in tweets that included things like: “YES I’M BLACK AND I’M VOTING FOR TRUMP.” The posts from the imposter accounts had been retweeted or mentioned more than 265,000 times.
However, the more disturbing part of the issue is that these accounts are using “digital blackface,” according to Darren Linvill, an associate professor at Clemson University, which means they falsely represent themselves by using photos of real Black people that they likely found from the Internet. This behavior is very widespread, but has increased this year due to the election and sadly, the people in the photos of these fake account likely have no idea that their image and likeness is being used.
In an official statement regarding the issue, Twitter said: “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.”
As the problem of misinformation on social media has become a very serious issue that many users have demanded be addressed, Twitter has banned all political ads on the platform and is flagging misleading posts and content more prominently, including Trump’s tweets that regularly feature false or misleading information.
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