The Washington Post reports: Early Saturday morning, President Trump tweeted his gratitude to a social-media super-fan, Nicole Mincey, magnifying her praise of him to his 35 million followers.
Here’s the problem: There is no evidence the Twitter feed belongs to someone named Nicole Mincey. And the account, according to experts, bears a lot of signs of a Russia-backed disinformation campaign.
On Sunday, Twitter suspended the Mincey account, known as @ProTrump45, after several other users revealed that it was probably a fake, created to amplify pro-Trump content.
The incident highlights Trump’s penchant for off-the-cuff tweeting — and the potential consequences for doing so now that he holds the nation’s highest office. Even as the president has railed against multiple investigations into Russia’s meddling in U.S. politics, he may have become Exhibit A of the foreign government’s influence by elevating a suspected Russia-connected social-media user — part a sophisticated campaign to exacerbate disputes in U.S. politics and gain the attention of the most powerful tweeter in the world.
“The president doesn’t know whether it’s a Russian bot or not,” said Clint Watt, a former FBI agent and fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, using the term for a fake Twitter account pretending to represent a real person and created to influence public opinion or promote a particular agenda. “He’s just pushing a narrative, whether it’s true or false. This provides a window not just for Russia but for any adversary to both influence the president or discredit him.” [Continue reading…]