The account @SouthLoneStar shared the image, saying, ‘Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone#PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam.’ The account described itself as, ‘Proud TEXAN and AMERICAN patriot.’ The Tweet was included in news reports around the world – but Twitter revealed that the account was actually run from Russia, and has closed it down, according to Wired.
The woman in the image made clear afterwards she was horrified by Khalid Masood’s attack – but the image was seized on by racists and the hard right. The so-called ‘Texas Lone Star’ account also – mysteriously – posted content about Brexit, saying, ‘I hope UK after #BrexitVote will start to clean their land from muslim invasion!’ Jonathon Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge said, ‘The account occasionally wades into a European political discussion, which is not what I would expect a domestically-focused Conservative Texan to do under any circumstance.’
The account was identified as Russian in a Twitter list published by American Democrats. It has since been closed down. Other right-wing Twitter personalities have recently been unmasked as Russian fakes, such as ‘Jenna Abrams’, who was highly popular with the alt-right. Congressional investigators confirmed that ‘Jenna Abrams’ – who had Tweeted on everything from Kim Kardashian to racial segregation – was actually run via a ‘troll farm’ in St Petersburg. The account – which at one point had 70,000 followers – has now been suspended.