On Friday morning, President Trump shared a reasonably spontaneous article on Twitter. The piece stated that her sister Elizabeth Trump Grew had publicly voiced support for her brother amid his baseless claim that he won the 2020 election.
“Thank you Elizabeth,” Mr. Trump wrote His sister, Which has avoided headlines for a long time. “Love!”
There was just one problem: Ms. Trump Graeau did not say what the article claimed. In fact, the article shared by Mr. Trump was based on a fake Twitter account that surfaced as his sister.
That article on the website of a conservative talk-radio host named Wayne Dupree, quoted a post from a Twitter account named “Betty Trump” that used a picture of Ms. Trump Grave.
“This election inspired me to break my silence and speak on behalf of my family,” the account said in a post on Wednesday. “My brother Don won this election and will fight till the very end. We have always been a family of fighters. “
Mr. Dupree’s site article called the comments “so powerful” and said he showed “our president has such a truly wonderful family.”
If the author of the article looked more closely, however, he would have noticed some questionable details about the account. It was a matter of one day. These photos use Ms. Trump Graeau were taken From Getty Images and previous news articles about her. And since that first post, the account tweeted Increasingly bizarre message, Sharply criticized Democrats, journalists and Republicans, who questioned the false claim that Mr. Trump was reelected.
“If someone turns up on Chris Wallace’s pants at Thanksgiving dinner, I promise, I’ll take care of the legal fees!” The account said, referring to the Fox News anchor. Another post stated, “Cheap Trump drinks rough day, with a picture of Cainty Daddy’s can of cheap malty beer.”
The bizarre episode shows how easily misinformation is spread online, often with the help of the president himself. Right-wing websites that seek to support the president’s baseless claims, or simply attract clicks so they can sell more ads, often evade traditional theories of journalism, such as simple fact-checking. And social media companies aid the cycle by training their algorithms to promote more attention-grabbing content, through fake accounts to share inaccurate accounts, as sensational and divisive posts often do.
Ms. Trump Grew did not respond to messages left on the phone number and emails listed for her in public records.
Vice News reported on Friday that a man who identified herself as Ms. Trump Graeau said she was trying to delete the account. “I have no statement,” The person was cited as telling vice. “I am angry with this whole thing.”
President Trump’s tweet about his sister brought the fake account to sudden attention on Friday morning. Shortly afterwards, Mr. Dupree’s website updated the piece with a disclaimer stating that the account could be an imposter.
The site said, “Although it has not been officially ‘fact-checked’ by social media executives and professionals, we are hearing from many others that this is not actually an account of Ms. Elizabeth Trump.” “We’ll leave it with this update, and wait for the official fact-checkers.”
Hours later, the account cleared. The person running the account said, “I soon made it clear that I was a parody, but I certainly had not reported this to President Trump himself” Posted On twitter “Hopefully everyone will forgive me – feel bad for creating any confusion.” Love! “
The post of president remained for hours afterwards.
Mr. Dupree said in an email that the author of the article had only re-written a post he had found on another conservative website. “When I found out, I was skeptical and I immediately went to the author and they went back to the website they claimed it was, but they didn’t see it so we came up with the statement,” he said . “I don’t want people, readers, to think that we are fake news.”
This article was on their website on Friday afternoon.
By that time, Twitter had deleted the account posted as Ms. Trump Grave. A Twitter spokesperson said that the account was permanently suspended due to violation of Twitter rules Forum manipulation and spam. “
Just before deleting the account @TheBettyTrump posted another message: “President Trump looks tired … he’s working so hard.”
Davey Alba contributed reporting.