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A fake Russian troll account suspended months ago is the subject of a fake news headline about House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and a sexual abuse scandal.
Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news.
The article showed an alleged tweet by @TEN_GOP:
"I’ve seen a check that has Nancy Pelosi’s signature because she authorized a payout for sexual abuse of a minor. The victim’s family has told me they’ve received threats when trying to take to MSM about the payout. #draintheswamp #Shushfund." (We assume that "take" is a typo and was supposed to say "talk.")
We searched news accounts and found nothing about Pelosi authorizing such a payout. The tweet appears to be the only source of the information.
According to RBC, a Russian media company with a history of independence, @TEN_GOP was a Russian troll account. It had posted 10,000 tweets by the time it was shut down in August 2017, two years after it launched. The fake account had nearly 150,000 followers -- far more than the real state party’s twitter account of about 13,000.
The real Tennessee Republican Party contacted Twitter multiple times to report that @TEN_GOP was impersonating the party’s actual account.
"It was very misleading, pretending to be our office," Tennessee Republican Party communications director Candice Dawkins told PolitiFact
Twitter’s press office didn’t respond to an email from PolitiFact.
Before the election, @TEN_GOP tweeted a series of misinformation, according to the New York Times, such as ''Obama wants our children to be converted to Islam! Hillary will continue his mission.''
The Washington Post reported that the list of prominent people who tweeted out links from the account included 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.
Twitter has said it had discovered that 2,752 accounts controlled by Russians.
The headline on Puppet String News states, "Tennessee GOP twitter taken down after tweet exposing Pelosi involved in pedophilia."
Actually, Twitter took down the fake Russian news account in August, and we found no evidence that Pelosi was involved in a payout related to pedophilia.
The Puppet String News’ website states that it was created by a U.S. Navy veteran who "decided to get into alternative news to tell the truth to best of ability." We attempted to contact the website via a Facebook message and did not get a reply.
We rate this headline Pants on Fire.
Puppet String News, "Tennessee GOP twitter taken down, after tweet exposing Pelosi involved in pedophilia," Nov. 26, 2017
New York Times, "Russia fanned flames with twitter, which faces blowback," Oct. 26, 2017
Washington Post, "How did Russian trolls get into your Facebook feed? Silicon Valley made it easy," (Accessed in Nexis) Nov. 2, 2017
Washington Post, "Michael Flynn, Nicki Minaj shared content from this Tennessee GOP account. But it wasn’t real. It was Russian," Oct. 18, 2017
Washington Post, "Facebook, Google and Twitter testified on Capitol Hill. Here’s what they said," Oct. 31, 2017
The Hill, "Pelosi: Conyers an 'icon' who deserves 'due process,'" Nov. 26, 2017
International Business Times, "Russian Trolls Ran Popular Far-Right Tennessee GOP Twitter Account," Oct. 18, 2017
The Tennessean, "Twitter suspends fake Tennessee GOP account," Oct. 18, 2017
Interview Drew Hammill, spokesman for Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Dec. 4, 2017
Interview, Candice Dawkins, Tennessee Republican Party spokeswoman, Dec. 4, 2017
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