Donald Trump thanked a black entrepreneur on Twitter, but she might not be real

Sure, fake news runs rampant now more than ever—but don’t let it distract you from another threat: fake Twitter accounts.

When Donald Trumptweeted his appreciationon Saturday to a “supporter” named Nicole Mincey/@protrump45, Twitter user @Rschooleydebunked the account’s identity, explaining in a thread exactly why “Nicole” and a variety of other Twitter users were in fact fakes, not actual Trump supporters.

Buckle up—this gets interesting.

SEE ALSO:Meet the Twitter bot that will give you all the Trump news you ever need

So the person Trump retweeted today that’s accused of being a bot. She joined Twitter in January, a full blown Trump believer.

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

Schooley shared anarticlefrom that lays out a vague backstory for Nicole: she’s a hardworking student who grew up in poverty and went on to start a pro-Trump apparel company.

The Heavy article makes a case that Nicole is not the “bot” some have proclaimed her to be, pointing to social media accounts belonging to a woman named Ahyanah Nicole Mincy. It’s worth noting that none of the publicly visible activity on those other accounts makes mention of Trump or the ProTrump45 business.

Further, Schooley points out that all the information uncovered in that article come from another source, theDaily Caller, and that other article seems to have been provided to the site by Nicole herself.

I didn’t see any real autobiographical details, such as college name or parents name.

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

We could find only one other instance of ProTrump45’s Nicole Mincey appearing in the media, in anapparent interviewwithWorldNetDaily, a right-leaning news aggregator. Schooley doesn’t discuss the WND story, but it’s worth noting that the quotes attributed to Nicole are as vague about her life and background as they are in her_Daily Caller_story.

The plot thickens even further here, as other, apparently fake Twitter users — all of which tweet each other — enter the picture.

Schooley found one account, allegedly belonging toKendra Manning, that actively supports Nicole. Manning claims to be a woman who blogs at Buzzfeed — though she has no bylines on the site. Photos of her on the account are also suspicious: most — possibly all — seem to come from Placeit, a stock photo service that includes pictures ofyoung people in blank shirts.

Just your typical young hipster Trump supporter.

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

Nicole also has a connection to Placeit. Her old, since-changed Twitter profile photo — which originally appeared (and still appears, as of this writing) in the Heavy story — was also from the stock image site. The woman in Heavy’s header image (on the right in the tweet below) is just an extreme close-up of the woman in the stock photo, on the left.

#6 She isn’t a real

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

At some point after Schooley’s above tweet, Heavy changed the article’s top image to one of Ahyanah Nicole Mincy.

See here:

Different day, different photograph


Meanwhile, Manning’s Medium account — which, as of this writing,is suspended— has ablog postabout Nicole and her Trump-focused apparel company—only it’s the same exact piece as the ones that appear in the_Daily Caller_and elsewhere.

Schooley also found that many of the bots, Nicole’s included, circulate memes and fake news stories.

Literally dozens of these memes on this bot

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

While diversity might be an issue in Trump’s base, in Schooley’s view that definitely isn’t the case when it comes to fake followers.

Never let it be said that Trump doesn’t have diverse fictional

— Schooley (@Rschooley)August 6, 2017

Despite overwhelming evidence provided by Schooley’s detailed theory, the safest bet to confirm whether or not the person behind the account and ProTrump45 store is real is to hear from the women in the photographs themselves._Mashable_has reached out to Ahyanah Nicole Mincy — not through @ProTrump45 — for further clarification.

With that being said—will the real Nicole Mincey please stand up?