A bogus Twitter account posing as a BBC journalist posted fake news about people being turned away and intimidated at UK polling stations today.
The hoax account, using the name Elliot Mecklenburg, had a screenshot of the BBC News logo as its cover photo and adopted the username @BBCElliotMeck to appear as though the account of a legitimate reporter.
- January 22, 2021
- January 21, 2021
- January 14, 2021
The fraud was spotted by PA social media journalist Alastair Reid, who pointed out in a tweet that the account was created this month and used a stock picture of an unknown man as its profile picture – both giveaway signs of a fake account.
He said: “Already seeing quite a few dodgy-looking Twitter accounts trying to spread stories of problems at polling stations today #GeneralElection.”
Reid said of the hoax tweeter: “This is basically fake account 101:
- Reverse image search profile pic
- Search for the name
- Check the join date
- Check for other reports.”
The account tweeted fake reports of minorities being intimidated at polling booths in the West Midlands, and a woman in Scotland being turned away from a polling station due to a lack of disabled access.
One tweet read: “UKIP/EDL types intimidating women and minorities outside polling station in Walsall. Trying to confirm. #GeneralElection17 #Vote2017.”
Within 15 minutes of Reid’s tweet highlighting the account, Twitter had suspended it.
Press Gazette was told the BBC had no comment on the matter.