A Twitter account named @ProTrump45 using the pseudonym Nicole Mincey, posed as a black Donald Trump supporter using stock photos from a black model. The model’s complexion was lightened when used for the Twitter account, which has been suspended, but not until the account reached 145,000 followers. The account advertised a website, ProTrump45.com that sells Pro-Donald Trump merchandise, though it doesn’t appear the website is actually affiliated with Trump or his campaign.
The stock photo was found on PlaceIt.Net, offering potential customers the opportunity to purchase rights to the stock photo and use it to advertise their brand. On August 5, Trump tweeted at the fake Twitter user, “thank you Nicole,” in response to a meme the Twitter account posted. Ironically, the Twitter user that frequently posted memes and tweets about fake news turned out to be overtly fake itself.
Heavy reported the Twitter user stole the identity of a 21 year-old New Jersey native of the same last name, and was using the name and photos to propagate a fake pro-Trump persona on Twitter and to advertise a Trump merchandising store:
While ‘Nicole Mincey’ may be an identity created to market the ‘ProTrump45’ brand that sells merchandise, there is a real person’s name attached to it. The real name of the New Jersey college student was used to register now-defunct online stores and a GoFundMe page for ‘Young Black Republicans’ that has also been deleted. The GoFundMe page used both the name ‘Nicole Mincey’ and the college student’s real name on the same profile description and raised a small amount of money. The real woman’s Facebook page, which is filled with photos of her life, was used to create the GoFundMe account.
Despite being fake, the Twitter user had been profiled by The Daily Caller in an article on the ProTrump45 shop written by ProTrump45:
Nicole Mincey is an African American female from Camden, NJ. She grew up in poverty and during this time her mother taught her the importance of hard work and self-responsibility. Her mother was a strong woman and a hardline conservative. Through hard work Nicole is now a college student and owner of ProTrump45, a pro-Trump empire.
The rest of the article reads like a propaganda-like profile, claiming Mincey once supported Obama, but is now a staunch conservative Trump supporter. The article, instead of being removed in lieu of these revelations, added a publisher’s note, “The advertiser story below might be completely fake, but their deals are 100% real! Get your Trump swag while you can!”
The WorldNetDaily also published an article featuring the person claiming to be Mincey, touting themselves as a person who dumped Obama to support Trump and open their own fan store.
Several other fake Twitter users posing as real people using stock model photos have been discovered and removed by Twitter, as these accounts often shared and interacted with one another to build off their own followings. A recent Twitter audit cites that only 62 percent of Trump’s Twitter followers are real accounts.