Twitter suspends account that boosted 'MAGA kids' controversy

Twitter suspends account that boosted 'MAGA kids' controversy
Twitter has suspended the account that shared the clipped video of Covington Catholic High School students' encounter with Native American elder Nathan Philips, which triggered a massive wave of attacks on the boys.

The Twitter account named @2020fight, purporting to belong to a California schoolteacher, shared the video with the caption “this MAGA loser gleefully bothering a Native American protester at the Indigenous Peoples March” on Friday. It was not the first time the video was shared, but that particular tweet and caption propelled it to national attention, reportedly garnering over 2.5mn views and 14,400 retweets.

Twitter has now suspended the account soon after CNN addressed the social media platform about the account's profile picture, which turned out to be that of a Brazilian blogger. “Deliberate attempts to manipulate the public conversation on Twitter by using misleading account information is a violation of the Twitter Rules,” a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill.

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The video posted by @2020fight, which showed boys wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ (MAGA) hats chanting around the Native American man as he beat his hand drum, was then reported on by numerous American outlets. Most initial reports assumed the boys were being disrespectful to the elder, especially focusing on the teenager’s smiling face.

Then a full video of the incident emerged, showing Philips was the first to wade into the ‘MAGA kids’ crowd and walk up to the boy, forcing multiple media to issue follow-up reports expounding on how the bigger picture must be taken into account – but not before anti-Trump Twitter users had unleashed a barrage of sometimes disturbing attacks on the Covington boys.

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The controversy kicked up a massive social media storm as the backlash against 'MAGA kids' turned into backlash against “fake news media” that jumped on the opportunity to vilify Trump supporters before properly verifying what had happened.

The story eventually reached the attention of US President Donald Trump, who threw his weight behind Nick Sandmann, the smiling boy in the video, and the rest of the Covington students, saying they had become “symbols of Fake News and how evil it can be.”

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