US President Donald Trump throws face masks at the Pennsylvania crowd

Twitter bans accounts claiming to be black Trump supporters

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Reuters

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Donald Trump is fighting for the November 3rd elections

Twitter has banned a number of fake accounts allegedly belonging to black followers of US President Donald Trump.

The social media giant said the accounts broke rules on spam and platform tampering.

Many of the accounts used identical language, including the phrase: "YES IN BLACK AND VOTE FOR TRUMP !!!"

Twitter has not given the number of accounts banned so far, nor the source.

It said it is continuing to investigate the activity and may suspend additional accounts if it is found to be violating its policies.

The investigation was first reported by the Washington Post newspaper.

Darren Linvill, a social media disinformation researcher at Clemson University, found more than two dozen such accounts that had generated around 265,000 retweets or Twitter mentions.

Some of the reports used photos of black men that had appeared in news articles. Some had tens of thousands of followers.

Mr. Linvill told Reuters news agency that most of the accounts were created in 2017 but had become more active in the past two months.

He said all of the accounts he was monitoring have now been suspended, but they have "already had an impact".

Twitter prohibits the use of the platform on the website to "artificially enhance or suppress information or to engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts the experience of people".

Your action will take place weeks before the November 3rd US presidential election.

According to polls, around 10% of black voters support Mr Trump, according to poll website FiveThirtyEight.

This type of alleged disinformation is much more similar to what we saw in the 2016 US election.

These were fake reports – often from countries like Russia – that intentionally created discord on social media or claimed to be real American grievances when they were anything but wrong.

We don't know all the details yet – Twitter has not revealed any more about the source of the accounts.

And it's worth noting that these accounts have been banned pending further investigation. However, all of the evidence presented so far suggests that there is some degree of coordination behind these reports. It appears that the same techniques were used to collect images from the internet. And the real smoking weapon here is Tweets that are used over and over again.

If so, it really is very damaging to Twitter – you obviously want to know that the people you are hearing from are authentic.

It is also worrying that Twitter did not pick this up itself but was brought to the attention of it.