President Donald Trump retweeted an apparent fan Saturday night. The fan received the RT from Trump after posting a photo of the president with the caption, “Trump working hard for the American people…thanks.” Trump returned the gratitude.
It seemed like an innocent enough exchange. Shortly after the commander in chief bestowed the RT on the user, @ProTrump45, however, people started questioning the legitimacy of the user, whose name is listed on her profile as Nicole Mincey.
As Salon pointed out, Mincey appears to be a Twitter bot with an account set up to sell pro-Trump merchandise.
Bob Schooley, a screenwriter and TV producer, investigated @ProTrump45 and exposed not only this account but also others that appear to be bots that were set up to show love to Trump. These numerous accounts appear to have taken and altered stock photos from the same website.
Schooley’s investigation yielded an informative thread.
The takeaways from this story: stay woke. Though we have no idea whether Trump was aware this account is (probably) a bot, wild political gesturing happens everywhere, even Twitter. Don’t believe every surface-level tweet you come across.
And, if you happen to be a stock photo model, there is a chance you’re being portrayed as a Trump supporter on Twitter.