Fake Twitter Putin Account Undetected for Six Years

Published December 1st, 2018 - 08:44 GMT
The Twitter account @PutinRF_Eng attracted more than one million followers and was left undetected for six years (Twitter)
The Twitter account @PutinRF_Eng attracted more than one million followers and was left undetected for six years (Twitter)

An unverified bogus Twitter account claiming to belong to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been suspended after going undetected for six years.

The account, @PutinRF_Eng, managed to attract more than one million followers and was mentioned in tweets sent by several high profile names.

World leader ncluding former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Kosovo President Hashim Thaçi, and former Argentina president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner all tweeted the bogus page.

Earlier this year, the Kremlin confirmed that the account in question was not run by Mr Putin nor managed by a member of his team.

The fake account regularly posted photos and updates of the Russian president's activities and stated in its description that it was official.

But the fake account it did not have Twitter's verified blue tick, which helps users know whether accounts for recognised and famous names are real.


The Putin impersonator account was reportedly created in 2012 and posted mainly official links to the president's public appearances.

'We suspended @putinRF_eng for impersonation based on a valid report we received from Russian officials', Twitter announced.

Impersonation is against Twitter policy, unless the account states that it is a parody, commentary, or fan account that is not affiliated with similarly-named individuals.

In September a tweet from Silvio Berlusconi's official account to @PutinRF_Eng thanked the Russian president and was accompanied by a picture of the Italian billionaire sitting at a desk on the phone and surrounded by gold wallpaper.

The tweet said: 'Best wishes from my friend @PutinRF_Eng are always special ... Спасибо, thank you!'

Twitter has taken a tougher stance on suspicious and inactive accounts on its platform, purging millions of locked accounts in July designed to 'improve the health' of conversation.

Social networks have also beef up their effort against accounts suspected of misleading political behaviour, with Twitter deleting 284 accounts in August for 'coordinated manipulation' in the lead up to the US mid-term elections.


This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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