Accounts impersonate government agencies and officials
Former President Donald Trump’s troubled social media platform may add one more problem to its list of woes: fake government accounts. Truth Social impersonators have grabbed grips used by law enforcement, branches of the military, and federal officials.
The Daily Dot found more than a dozen accounts on Truth Social whose IDs match the government entities and representatives used on their verified Twitter accounts. These include the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Department of Justice, United States Navy, United States Army, New York City Police Department (NYPD ), the White House, the President of the United States, the White House Press Secretary, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Treasury Department, Department of Homeland Security, environmental protection and State Department. In Truth Social’s defense, none of these accounts are verified.
Any of these agencies could have opened an account, if they had the desire and the patience to withstand the challenge of registration.
The majority of these accounts don’t include bios and haven’t posted or followed anyone yet. This indicates that they are probably in the long queue that from this week, more than one million registered users were waiting to access their accounts.
A few of the account holders have successfully logged in and started using the app.
One of them is @NYPDNews, the handle the NYPD uses on its official website. Twitter Account.
The account uses the same avatar as the NYPD’s Twitter account and was posted as if it was actually the NYPD.
There are clues that it is inauthentic. It only follows two accounts: Trump and Donald Trump Jr. NYPDNews recently welcomed Trump Jr. when he finally joined the app. “We are here with you,” he wrote, along with a balloon emoji.
The NYPD has confirmed that it does not control this account.
“This is not an official NYPD social media account,” NYPD spokeswoman Jessica McRorie told The Daily Dot via email on Friday.
The Navy, Army, FBI, CIA, State Department, and Department of Justice have also confirmed that their agencies do not monitor Truth Social accounts using their Twitter handles. “This is not an official CIA account,” an agency spokesperson told the Daily Dot via email.
“We have contacted the company to have it removed,” a Navy spokesperson told the Daily Dot by email on Friday. “The Navy is not present on Truth Social currently.”
It is possible that Truth Social has reserved accounts for government agencies and officials. If so, it’s unclear how others gained access to @NYPDNews and other accounts whose IDs match the official Twitter accounts of government agencies and officials.
Additionally, there are no Truth Social accounts for many government entities that are on Twitter. As of this writing, no one has claimed the grips used by the United States Marine Corps, AmeriCorps, the Agency for Global Media and others.
Two of the accounts reviewed by Daily Dot use a government handle but do not claim to represent the government. The POTUS account bio reads, “This is a parody account for all the lying dog-faced ponies to tag.”
The @WhiteHouse account claims to belong to Joshua Whitehouse, a former New Hampshire state representative who briefly worked for the Trump administration. The Daily Dot could not reach Whitehouse to confirm whether it manages the account.
Whoever controls @WhiteHouse is a huge fan of Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The biography includes Gaetz’s website, and the sum total of his activity is reposting — “retruthing” in Truth Social parlance — Gaetz twice.
The @NASA account does not appear to be controlled by the US agency responsible for exploring the cosmos, although it seems so at first glance. NASA did not respond to messages asking if it controls the Truth Social account which shares the same identifier as its Official Twitter.
The Truth Social account describes itself as “NASA Space News, including the James Webb Telescope.” His avatar is the official NASA logo which the real agency also uses on its verified site Twitter.
The similarities end there. The account bio includes the URL for Space.com, a popular space-related website. The Daily Dot reviewed dozens of its recent posts. All included links to articles on Space.com, none to the NASA website.
A closer look reveals that the account is actually a bot. Clicking a button labeled “bot” on their bio brings up a notice that reads, “This account is an RSS feed aggregation bot, and is not operated by or affiliated with the referenced media outlet.”
“I was actually surprised to see the mention of Space.com on Truth Social as we are not currently involved with that social media service,” editor Tariq Malik told the Daily Dot via email. . Malik added that Space.com “would not use a NASA screen name on any network.”
Some of @NASA’s 113,000 followers on Truth Social nonetheless believe that NASA does in fact control the account. “Want to see you land on the moon again,” one replied to a recent post.
It’s unclear who created the account, but someone had to.
Truth Social did not respond to an email request Friday morning.
Truth Social’s policies prohibit impersonation. The policies also prohibit username squatting. It technically allows parody and satirical accounts, although users have complained that such accounts are often banned.
Impersonating a government official can have far more serious repercussions than getting fired from Trump’s failing social media platform.
The United States Penal Code states: “Anyone who falsely assumes or purports to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency, or agent thereof, and acts as such , or in such purported character, demands or obtains money, paper, document or thing of value, shall be punished by a fine under this title or by imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years, or both.
This post has been updated with comment from Space.com.