A Twitter account that tweeted a call to violence and claimed to be representing the position of “Antifa” was in fact created by a known white supremacist group, Twitter said Monday. The company removed the account.
Before it emerged the account was run by white supremacists, Donald Trump Jr., President Donald Trump’s son, pointed his 2.8 million Instagram followers to the account as an example how dangerous Antifa is.
“This account violated our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. “We took action after the account sent a Tweet inciting violence and broke the Twitter Rules.”
Although the account only had a few hundred followers, it is an example of white supremacists seeking to inflame tensions in the United States by posing as left-wing activists online.
The revelation of the account comes as President Donald Trump increasingly blames left-wing activists for violence occurring at protests across America.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted he would designate Antifa a terrorist organization, despite the US government having no existing legal authority to do so. Antifa, short for anti-fascists, describes a broad, loosely-organized group of people whose political beliefs lean toward the left — often the far-left — but do not conform with the Democratic Party platform.
Antifa positions can be hard to define, but many people espousing those beliefs support oppressed populations and protest the amassing of wealth by corporations and elites. Some employ radical or militant tactics to get out their messages.
The fake account, @ANTIFA_US, tweeted Sunday, “ALERT Tonight’s the night, Comrades Tonight we say “F**k The City” and we move into the residential areas… the white hoods…. and we take what’s ours #BlacklivesMaters #F**kAmerica.”
“Absolutely insane,” Trump Jr. wrote on Instagram, sharing a screenshot of the tweet, “Just remember what ANTIFA really is. A Terrorist Organization! They’re not even pretending anymore.”
A spokesperson for Donald Trump Jr. did not provide comment to CNN Tuesday morning, but later the post was removed from Trump Jr.’s Instagram feed. There is no indication whatsoever that Trump Jr. knew who was behind the account or that it was fake.
Twitter said that the account was in fact linked to Identity Evropa, a white power fraternity.
Though Twitter referred to the group as Identity Evropa when discussing the account’s removal, the Anti Defamation League (ADL) states that the group dissolved and reformed under the name the American Identitarian Movement, which it also calls a white supremacist group.
The group promotes itself as “identitarian,” that white people should preserve their racial and cultural identity. The American Identitarian Movement says it prohibits violence and illegal activity.
CNN has reached out to the group for comment.
Twitter said it had shut down other fake accounts linked to Identity Evropa, too.
The phenomenon of people on the right creating fake Antifa accounts predates the current wave of protests. The takedown Monday is not the first time a fake Antifa account linked to white supremacists has been suspended by Twitter, the spokesperson confirmed.
By Donie O’Sullivan, CNN Business