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Twitter says fake "Antifa" account was run by white supremacists

Misinformation surges online amid protests

Twitter has shut down multiple accounts that it says were operated by a white supremacist group posing as liberal groups encouraging violence.

Twitter said the white supremacist group Identity Evropa used one fake account, @Antifa_US, to call for violence in majority white suburbs, in the name of the Black Lives Matter movement. The account's removal was first reported by NBC News.

"This account violated our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. We took action after the account sent a Tweet inciting violence and broke the Twitter Rules" the company said.

Twitter said it has also targeted other fake accounts run by Identity Evropa, but did not provide examples. The company said the accounts posted hateful tweets targeting race, religion and sexual orientation.

fake-antifa-tweet.jpg
A screengrab of a tweet that Twitter says was posted by white supremacists posing as supporters of the left-wing anti-fascist movement Antifa. Twitter

An Identity Evropa account purported to be associated with Antifa, a collection of loosely connected groups that organize against fascism. On Sunday, Attorney General William Barr said Antifa was associated with violence at recent protests. Officials have yet to show evidence to support this claim.

Without identifying any particular group, a May 31 Department of Homeland Security note warned that well-coordinated groups had "potentially compromised" law enforcement radio communications in Portland, Oregon over the weekend. The note warned that those seeking to incite violence in other locations could be "monitoring local law enforcement communications to identify vulnerabilities in their operational security posture."

Democratic officials, including Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, have said without evidence that white supremacist groups have been involved in violence. 

On Friday, Denver police seized assault rifles from at least two people associated with a group called the  "Boogaloo Bois" near the site of a protest.

In a report Monday, the Anti-Defamation League described the "Boogaloo Bois" as "right-wing anti-government extremists have also reacted to the protests and violence following the killing of George Floyd."

"ADL's Center on Extremism has been closely monitoring the protests nationwide, and it is our initial assessment that while a number of extremists – including anti-government agitators, anarchists and a handful of white supremacists – are taking an active role, these protests should not be categorized as "extremist" events at this point," the organization said in its report.

The nonprofit said that although there are white supremacists among the "boogaloo" followers, the group's focus is not explicitly race.

"Some white supremacists have also adopted the boogaloo concept, but most boogalooers are not white supremacist.  Rather, their orientation is anti-government and vehemently anti-police, a fact that has largely shaped their reactions to the protests against George Floyd's killing," the ADL said.

Additional reporting contributed by Dan Patterson.

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