An account spoofing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went viral this week after receiving a reply from Twitter CEO Elon Musk.
The verified account garnered significant attention after Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, acknowledged the fake account Tuesday in a tweet that warned her followers from interacting with it.
FYI there’s a fake account on here impersonating me and going viral. The Twitter CEO has engaged it, boosting visibility.
It is releasing false policy statements and gaining spread.
I am assessing with my team how to move forward. In the meantime, be careful of what you see.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 30, 2023
The account, @AOCPress, is a parody account that lampoons the representative’s liberal positions. The account got a lot of attention in conservative circles for sarcastically proposing $3 trillion in reparations to the transgender community and suggesting sending 10 million Americans to fight in Ukraine.
On Sunday, the account got its biggest boost when it posted about “having a crush” on Mr. Musk, who is also CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. He responded to the tweet with a fire emoji. The account has since skyrocketed in followers, gathering more than 100,000 in just a few days. The account has nearly 300,000 followers in total.
Twitter policy requires parody accounts to prominently display that their accounts are in fact a caricature. While the AOCPress account does mark itself as a parody, the marker is cut off on the mobile site, leaving many to mistake the account for the real deal.
The account has existed since 2018 but was banned in 2019 along with the personal account of the person running it. Michael Morrison, who runs the account, took it to Gab where he was able to post more sexually explicit content as well as reshare content with racial slurs.
When Mr. Musk took over Twitter last year, Mr. Morrison had both his accounts reinstated. However, he has said he is no longer in control of the AOCPress account.
The latest posting has reignited debate about Mr. Musk’s verification program. When Mr. Musk let users buy verification this year, many pointed out that impersonation on the site would become an issue. The program, dubbed Twitter Blue, is now mostly used by businesses and fans of Mr. Musk.