Good morning twitter. pic.twitter.com/gnq43IZh6S— Clair (@thetaclair) August 20, 2017
One Twitter account is proving that hateful propaganda can be spread in some very creative ways.
Twitter handle @thetaclair — seemingly the profile of a blonde, white, college student — has raised questions about the authenticity of their account due to several posts that seem to be promoting white supremacist rhetoric.
According to BuzzFeed, earlier this month, the account tweeted a picture from the toy aisle in Target, claiming that the store only had black dolls on its shelves.
“I couldn't find a doll for my little cousin's birthday," the account wrote in a since-deleted tweet, "but I did find dolls named Abrianna, Anaya, Maeva, and Keisha."
This did not go over well with the Twittersphere, which immediately began accusing the account of staging the photo and rearranging the dolls themselves to look like there were only black ones available.
Maybe next time choose a regional, less accessible store to rearrange stock to prove a fake point. pic.twitter.com/oEwHmgH3IN— ?Hollie? (@holliesplaining) August 15, 2017
The questionable tweet even prompted 38-year-old Hollie Slaton to take a trip to her local Target in Hammond, Indiana, and film her own video of the aisle of dolls.
“There were three full aisles of dolls. Most of them were white," Slaton reportedly told BuzzFeed.
Additionally, a spokesperson for Target told BuzzFeed News that the line of dolls @thetaclair tweeted about comes in a variety of eye, skin, and hair colors, meaning it would be highly unlikely for their stores to carry only one type.
Aside from the doll fiasco, @thetaclair tweeted 21st birthday wishes to her supposed “cousin Brock” using a photo of a man named Tom — who uses the Twitter handle @TomHZL — and confirmed to BuzzFeed that he doesn’t know who “Brock” or @thetaclair is.
Wait... Why do you think Brock would want a doll? That's some weird shit. pic.twitter.com/xj1ONujJp0— Stranger Thingamabob (@MikeyMooseNC) August 15, 2017
Back in Malaysia ???? 272 Steps climbed to Batu Caves! pic.twitter.com/I9X18jPElb— Tom (@TomHZL) August 13, 2017
Based on its timeline, the account appears to be playing on the white sorority girl stereotype, using photos of Starbucks frappuccinos and partying to subtly push alt-right propaganda.
The sorority that the user is claiming to be a member of, Kappa Alpha Theta, has also confirmed that the account is not affiliated with their organization, and the two women featured in the account’s profile photo could not be identified by the sorority’s director of communications, Liz Appel Rinck.
The account often tweets and retweets pro-President Donald Trump messages as well as some posts from infamous white supremacist Richard Spencer, among other alt-right accounts.
However, BuzzFeed discovered that @thetaclair is not the only profile using this strategy to promote racism, bigotry, and anti-feminist messages.
There are several other accounts, some with profile photos stolen from Pinterest and other sites, that appear to be spreading hate by burying it under other normal and mundane content.
Maybe we should install giant "litter boxes" in public locations so we can't be called islamophobes..?? https://t.co/oMSbmEUzQn— RR Another Becky?? (@greeneyes0084) June 25, 2017
My confederate ancestors fought with love in their hearts for their homeland/family & friends. It's very hurtful to erase their legacy.— Clair (@thetaclair) August 21, 2017
Lilya Breha decided it would be a good idea to date a Nigerian, Marvyn Iheanacho, until he battered her son to death for losing a shoe. pic.twitter.com/uAXkGKl1f5— Andrew Joyce (@AJOccidental) July 6, 2017
Feminist Mag Calls on White Women to Fight Supremacy by Aborting All of Their White Babies https://t.co/ThjHaQixJZ— Asa J ???? (@asamjulian) June 25, 2017
Twitter reportedly told BuzzFeed that the company “cannot comment on specific accounts for privacy and security reasons" and directed the media outlet to its guidelines about impersonation accounts and how to report them.
Needless to say, Twitter should tighten its reigns on the content they allow. In addition to spreading divisive rhetoric, these frauds are giving a bad name to the people they are impersonating. Fake accounts are problematic all around.
These clever trolls, however, are using pop culture and the allure of college life to influence a younger generation so that their hate continues to permeate society for years to come.