I wrote previously about fake U.S. General Twitter accounts. U.S. Generals aren’t the only military accounts being faked and impersonated on social media, however.
The variety of fake military Twitter accounts is as astounding as it is endless. All ranks, veterans, women and men, and different nationalities. Some are scammer accounts, some are shells that have never tweeted, and many of them serve to amplify political rhetoric (on all sides).
This article will give you an indication of the magnitude of Twitter’s problem with fake military accounts.
Twitter’s Fake Military Accounts: Example 1
Meet Sherri Jo Gallagher. Gallagher is a real-life soldier who holds 22 national rifle records and was awarded U.S. Army Soldier of the Year in 2010. Gallagher is also the face and name on a plethora of fake Twitter accounts.
Note that this Sherri Jo Gallagher impersonator account tweets about itself in the 3rd person. The text was taken from Wikipedia.
And, some of the Sherri Jo Gallagher impersonator accounts are pushing political views.
Twitter’s Fake Military Accounts: Example 2
Lieutenant-General Alexander Donald Meinzinger of the Royal Canadian Air Force is also a target for impersonators. Like the Gallagher account, the impersonator used Wikipedia to fill the profile description on the account. Granted, the copy-paste was more poorly executed.
Meinzinger’s impostor has tweeted original messages in Meinzinger’s name.
Then, there’s this.
It’s a Global Problem
The Gallagher and Meinzinger impostors show on an individual level what the fake military accounts look and act like. To understand the seemingly infinite number of fake military accounts, it’s important to note that the U.S. and Canada are not alone.
Twitter is a global company with a global problem. This global problem includes fake military accounts worldwide.
It’s also a Political Problem
These accounts are neither difficult to find nor hard to identify. So, why hasn’t Twitter’s algorithm figured out how to stop these accounts on arrival? This is particularly important because the fake military accounts commonly push political rhetoric, whether they are impersonators or not.
Twitter has fake accounts impersonating both real and imaginary soldiers and veterans. They tweet political rhetoric, images of war, comment about the horrors of war, and some of them try to scam real users.
Like so many of the different fake account types, the fake military accounts could be dismissed as a few bad seeds. But they are so much more than that. First, these accounts are stolen valor, cyber-style. They dishonor the real men and women of the armed forces, regardless of country. Also, importantly, these accounts work collectively to present a false reality.
Consider this. It would be easy to conclude that a lot of military people support Trump because a lot of military Twitter accounts like and retweet him. But, do real military users support Trump? Or, given the number of fake military accounts on Twitter, is it the case that the fake accounts have created an illusion of military support?
Written by Virginia Murr
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