Kevin Collier at Buzzfeed
Twitter Was Warned Repeatedly About This Fake Account Run By A Russian Troll Farm And Refused To Take It Down

The @TEN_GOP account was one of many created by Russia's Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked “troll farm” that devoted hundreds of thousands of dollars and nearly 100 people specifically to influencing American political sentiment. The account was first identified this week in an investigation by Russia's RBC news outlet into the troll farm's efforts to influence US politics.

That investigation documented the lengths that Russia went to in its influence campaign, including paying unsuspecting Americans to undertake activities seemingly intended to increase polarization.

The @TEN_GOP account offered a lesson in how inflammatory tweets can be used to gain followers and influence. In contrast, the actual Tennessee GOP’s Twitter account, @tngop, has only 13,400 followers, despite being the Twitter voice of the state party since 2007.

The actual Tennessee Republican Party tried unsuccessfully for months to get Twitter to shut @TEN_GOP down.


Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin, Adam Entous in the WaPo

Michael Flynn, Nicki Minaj shared content from this Tennessee GOP account. But it wasn’t real. It was Russian.

Russian operatives used a fake Twitter account that claimed to speak for Tennessee Republicans to persuade American politicians, celebrities and journalists to share select content with their own massive lists of followers, two people familiar with the matter said.

The list of prominent people who tweeted out links from the account, @Ten_GOP, which Twitter shut down in August, includes political figures such as Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, celebrities such as Nicki Minaj and James Woods, and media personalities such as Ann Coulter and Chris Hayes.

Factchecker's picture

One would have to be

One would have to be extremely naïve to think Putin did not do this in states that narrowly crossed over to Trump at the last minute, after James Comey announced he was reexamining emails relating to Clinton and Fox News falsely announced that indictments of her were forthcoming. And that these operations did not have effect on swing voters.

jbr's picture

Daily Beast: Trump aides

Mike Knapp's picture

It’s not surprising

they didn’t name it @OREGON_GOP, what they posted wasn’t surprising, who liked and retweeted what they posted wasn’t surprising, the time it took Twitter to take it down wasn’t surprising. And it’s not surprising the real TN GOP hasn’t isssued a press release formally disavowing itself of all the ridiculous pap spouted out in its name.

They’re sharpening the distinctions, old tried n’ true. RBC has a good write-up, from the link above. McClatchy reporting getting it right again - not a big box of trolls but many small ones.

cwg's picture


had been trying to get the account taken down for a year. I had many, many conversations with staff about it. I reported the account to Twitter, as did many others I know. This is not on the TNGOP, who has repeatedly disavowed any association with the account and actually has commented this week about how glad they are it's gone.

The state legislators who regularly RT'd the TEN_GOP account tho ... not a peep.

Somebody's picture

The Russians are coming

I would posit that if one were to dig through the archives here over the last twelve to eighteen months, one would find some borscht-stained posts even in this backwoods section of the interwebs.

jbr's picture

Nyet, comrade

Nyet, comrade

R. Neal's picture

There were a lot of anonymous

There were a lot of anonymous posts from a variety of server farms. The posts looked like bots or coming from VPNs. I tried to block the rogue server farms, but it got hard to keep up so I turned off anonymous comments. The more persistent ones set up accounts.

Most Russian and Eastern Europe IPs were blocked, but a few got through. Most of those seemed like hacking attempts. That was going on for years before and since, but there was definitely a spike during the election.

Mike Knapp's picture

They were using TN_GOP for a reason

How A Russian Troll Fooled America

@TEN_GOP masqueraded as an American patriot. To preserve that disguise, it regularly posted “character” tweets, including blessing the U.S. military at Christmas... and at other times of the year. Other tweets were simply sentimental. This post, for example, praised U.S. policemen for bringing a lost toddler home. This one flaunted its patriotic leanings with a comment on the flag.
The account interlocked with genuine far-right users and activists, joining in a call for a “meme jihad” against CNN and being shared on subreddit /r/the_donald, one of the main hubs of far-right activism.
With its bona fides as a far-right American established, @TEN_GOP was able to insert pro-Russian messaging into its posts.

Both RT and Sputnik, for example, quoted it as mocking the claim that Russia had interfered in the election.

jbr's picture

Republican Town

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