No, Trump’s sister didn’t publicly again him. He was duped by a pretend account.

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On Friday morning, President Trump shared a seemingly innocuous article on Twitter. The piece stated that his sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, had publicly voiced her assist for her brother amid his baseless claims that he gained the 2020 election.

“Thanks Elizabeth,” Mr. Trump wrote to his sister, who has lengthy averted the highlight. “LOVE!”

There was only one downside: Ms. Trump Grau had not stated what the article claimed. Actually, the article Mr. Trump shared was primarily based on a pretend Twitter account that posed as his sister.

That article, on the web site of a conservative talk-radio host named Wayne Dupree, quoted a submit from a Twitter account named “Betty Trump” that used a photograph of Ms. Trump Grau as its profile image.

“This election impressed me to interrupt my silence and converse out on behalf of my household,” the account stated in a submit on Wednesday. “My brother Don gained this election and can battle this to the very finish. We’ve all the time been a household of fighters.”

The article on Mr. Dupree’s web site known as the feedback “so highly effective” and stated they confirmed how “our president actually does have such an incredible household.”

Had the article’s writer appeared extra intently, although, she would have observed some suspicious particulars concerning the account. It was a day outdated. The pictures it used of Ms. Trump Grau were taken from Getty Pictures and previous information articles about her. And since that first submit, the account had tweeted increasingly bizarre messages, sharply criticizing Democrats, journalists and Republicans who had questioned the false declare that Mr. Trump was re-elected.

“If somebody pours gravy down Chris Wallace’s pants at Thanksgiving dinner, I promise, I’ll deal with the authorized charges!” the account stated, referring to the Fox Information anchor. One other submit stated, “The proper Trump drink on a tough day,” with a photograph of a can of Natty Daddy, an inexpensive malt beer.

The weird episode illustrates how simply misinformation spreads on-line, typically with the assistance of the president himself. Proper-wing web sites that search to assist the president’s baseless claims, or just entice clicks to allow them to promote extra adverts, typically eschew the normal rules of journalism, resembling easy fact-checking. And the social media firms help the cycle by making it easy to share misinformation, together with by way of pretend accounts, and by coaching their algorithms to advertise materials that draws extra consideration, as sensational and divisive posts typically do.

Ms. Trump Grau didn’t reply to messages left at a telephone quantity and e mail listed for her in public data.

Vice Information reported on Friday that an individual who recognized herself as Ms. Trump Grau had stated she was attempting to get the account deleted. “I’ve no assertion,” the person was quoted as telling Vice. “I’m simply irritated about this entire factor.”

President Trump’s tweet about his sister introduced the pretend account a sudden rush of consideration on Friday morning. Shortly after, Mr. Dupree’s web site up to date the piece with a disclaimer that stated the account is likely to be an impostor.

“Whereas this has not been formally ‘fact-checked’ by social media executives and professionals, we’re listening to from many others that this isn’t truly the account of Ms. Elizabeth Trump,” the positioning stated. “We’ll depart it up with this replace, and look ahead to official fact-checkers to weigh in.”

Hours later, the account got here clear. “I’d’ve clarified sooner that I used to be a parody however I definitely didn’t anticipate President Trump himself taking discover of the account,” the individual working the account posted on Twitter. “Hope y’all will forgive me — really feel dangerous for creating any confusion. LOVE!”

The president’s submit remained up hours later.

Mr. Dupree stated in an e mail that the article’s writer had merely rewritten a submit she had discovered on one other conservative web site. “Once I discovered, I used to be confused and I instantly went to the writer and so they went again to the web site they claimed it was from however they didn’t see it so we got here up with the assertion,” he stated. “I don’t need folks, readers to assume we’re pretend information.”

The article remained on his web site on Friday afternoon.

By that point, Twitter had deleted the account that posed as Ms. Trump Grau. A Twitter spokesman stated the account was “completely suspended for violating the Twitter Guidelines on platform manipulation and spam.”

Simply earlier than the account was deleted, @TheBettyTrump posted one other message: “President Trump appears drained … he’s working so laborious.”

Davey Alba contributed reporting.

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