A 17-year-old high school student named Andrew Walz has checked his Twitter account as a fake Congressional candidate for US presidential election 2020 according to the report. The account in violation of Twitter’s rules has since been permanently suspended.
The campaign was for a fictitious congressional Republican candidate from Rhode Island named Andrew Walz. The profile’s bio said Walz was a established business leader and a passionate student advocate.
The teenager said he received the profile image from a website that creates realistic pictures of fake people. Having done that, he filled out a Ballotpedia survey with details about his fake nominee. He said that to verify the nominee neither Twitter nor Ballotpedia asked for any further details.
Last year Twitter collaborated with the Ballotpedia in recognizing candidates ‘ official Twitter accounts and their campaigns. When Ballotpedia passed details on to Twitter from Andrew Walz, the company reached out to check the account, despite having just 10 followers as of 26 February.
Walz’s account received a coveted blue check-mark from Twitter earlier this month as part of the broader push of the company to verify the authenticity of many currently running for office candidates from the Senate, House and Governor-ate.
Twitter has framed this effort as the key to helping Americans find reliable policy information in the run-up to the 2020 election.
Twitter was criticized last year for saying that candidates running for public office would not be confirmed unless they won a primary.
Twitter, however, changed its policy in December and vowed to verify all candidates who will apply for the 2020 primary to help improve on the platform’s voter information.
Although improvements have been made, accountability mechanisms have been introduced, systems upgraded, there are still, obviously, gaps that need to be addressed in electoral security processes.