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Roy Moore’s Twitter account sees a Russian invasion

Roy Moore is surrounded by supporters and media after leaving the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday October 27, 2016 as the lottery is held to pick the judges who will hear his appeal.

By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter

The Russians have invaded … Roy Moore’s Twitter account.

The Moore campaign spent much of the weekend and the early part of Monday defending itself from the oddest of circumstances: an increase of roughly 20,000 Twitter followers on the campaign’s official account, with most of the new followers appearing to originate from Russia.

Moore’s campaign spokesperson Drew Messer told several outlets over the weekend and on Monday that the campaign didn’t pay for the new followers and that it had reported the issue to Twitter to investigate.

Most of the new followers appeared to be bots and featured various generic profiles and avatars, including some celebrity photos.

Later Monday, Moore’s camp released an official statement in which it blamed Moore’s opponent in the upcoming U.S. Senate election, Doug Jones, for somehow manipulating Twitter and causing the problem. The Moore camp settled on this explanation because the accounts originated from Russia – a hot topic following the tampering from that country in the 2016 presidential election.

However, Jones’ involvement in an elaborate setup seems unlikely, considering Jones didn’t have a Twitter account until a few weeks ago. And Jones’ campaign spokesperson, Sebastian Kitchen, told the Montgomery Advertiser that the allegations were “embarrassing” and said it was another “disgusting and pathetic lie” from Moore.

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Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.