Twitter moves to suspend account which claimed Jo Swinson is about to resign

PUBLISHED: 14:22 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:29 05 December 2019

Max Gapes' Twitter account. Photograph: Twitter.

Max Gapes' Twitter account. Photograph: Twitter.

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Twitter has shut down an account which claimed that Jo Swinson was on the verge of resigning before election day to focus more on her own seat.

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A tweet sent by Max Gapes claimed Jo Swinson was resigning. Photograph: Twitter.A tweet sent by Max Gapes claimed Jo Swinson was resigning. Photograph: Twitter.

Thousands of users have been sharing reports from "Max Gapes", a Twitter user who had originally claimed to be a journalist.

He had excited left-wing tweeters by bringing "scoops" with stories they hoped would take votes away from the anti-Brexit party.

He claimed the Tories had been approached by the Lib Dems to discuss a coalition in the event of a hung parliament, and that party leader Jo Swinson was preparing to resign to soften the blow of an election defeat.

Gapes reported that Lib Dem sources had branded it a "worse campaign than Theresa May's in 2017".

The Twitter account claimed that Swinson was to focus on her own constituency seat instead, which she was "worried" of losing due to tactical voting.

Some of Gapes' Twitter threads had been retweeted and liked thousands of times - convincing journalists and politicians.

MORE: Jo Swinson warns of 'fake news' after viral squirrel abuse story

But it became apparent that it was not an authentic account as the photograph used a profile picture still included the copyright signs from a stock image website.

The account had been created in July 2019, becoming more prominent for comments about the Lib Dems during the election campaign.

Twitter has now suspended the account after users reported it for impersonation of a journalist.

Guidelines state "in order to violate our impersonation policy, the account must portray another entity in a misleading or deceptive manner".

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