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Social media ‘influencer’ accused of spreading 2016 election misinformation

Mackey, according to a 2018 HuffPost report, is a prominent pro-Trump online troll linked to the white nationalist movement.

How the lies spread: According to the complaint, Mackey and several anonymous co-conspirators sought to stir up confusion over the voting process by claiming on social media that supporters of one of the top two presidential candidates could vote by posting online or texting.

Mackey has used at least four Twitter accounts in his targeted disinformation campaigns, the first reaching more than 58,000 followers, according to the complaint. Independent analysis at the time ranked his account among the 110 most influential for the upcoming election, beating out leading media and personalities like NBC News and late-night host Stephen Colbert. All four accounts have been suspended or deleted.

“The indictment alleges that the accused operated a social media platform to violate one of the most fundamental and sacred rights guaranteed by the Constitution: the right to vote,” Nicholas McQuaid, Acting deputy attorney general of the justice ministry’s criminal division, said in a statement.

The background: The office of then-Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller several federal indictments in 2018 against individuals and organizations in Russia who had sought to stir up divisions around the 2016 presidential elections, an effort that U.S. intelligence agencies concluded was aimed at helping Donald Trump. But these defendants have never been detained in the United States, and high-profile accusations in cases of election misinformation are rare.

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