A popular online troll account -- purporting to be written by a “rogue” White House staffer, and claiming to spill Trump administration secrets -- has been deleted by Facebook, which deemed it a “fake account” amid Fox News questions.
Rogue Potus Staff, a Twitter account that was linked to Facebook and which has amassed nearly 1 million followers, has been the subject of fascination and debate over whether it was real.
The Twitter version of the account remained active, as of this writing.
“The unofficial resistance team inside the White House. We pull back the curtain to expose the real workings inside this disastrous, frightening Administration,” the account’s Twitter bio reads.
Liberal journalists and media organizations have given credence to the flood of so-called “alternative” government employee accounts since Trump’s inauguration. The New York Times reported that “the concerns of federal employees are being spread across social media” with accounts purportedly claiming to reveal the inner-workings of the administration.
Multiple other publications gave a more resounding boost to the credibility of Rogue Potus Staff, with feminist magazine Marie Claire writing online, “Apparently a rogue White House staffer is tweeting out Trump's secrets” and saying Trump “will probably be a bit more careful about what he says in public following this ‘security breach’.”
Progressive blog Palmer Report, described by the Atlantic as “the publication of record for anti-Trump conspiracy nuts who don’t care about the credibility of the record,” came out to proclaim that the “Rogue Potus Staff” persona is genuine and there’s “no evidence that it's a hoax.” The article has since been deleted.
But despite giving credence to the anonymous online author, few attempted to verify who's behind the account.
The alleged “staffer” created a Facebook account and a page in March 2017, linking it to the Twitter account. But just a few months ago, the page suddenly disappeared.
Fox News reached out to Facebook last week, asking whether the removal was part of Facebook’s effort to crackdown on Russian propaganda and fake accounts or pages. A representative for Facebook said last Friday that the page was deleted by the page administrator.
But on the same day, the account that administrated the “Rogue” White House staffer’s page was also suddenly scrubbed after its activity and behavior deemed the account fake.
A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed that Facebook deleted the account after Fox News inquiries that flagged it up in the system. "In a review of wider page itself it was determined that the admin was a fake,” she said.
She declined to say whether the account was deleted due to it being part of the Russian propaganda effort or being one of the thousands of fake accounts located somewhere in Europe for the purpose of pushing fake news.
The now-deleted account published lots of fake news. In one example, the self-proclaimed White House staffer tweeted Feb. 13 that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn would remain in his job because the president was “committed” to him. Later that day, Flynn resigned amid a controversy over his past contact with the Russian ambassador.
Similarly, the account said the Trump administration would rescind a 2014 Obama administration executive order regarding workplace protections of LGBTQ community, tweeting “Rumors are true. Expect by end of the week.”
The speculation proved to be incorrect and the administration kept the order – something a real White House insider likely would had known.
Fox News contacted Twitter, which has been less successful in tackling the scourge of fake news and fake accounts, regarding the account on its platform, which still remains active, noting that the account has been terminated by Facebook.
A Twitter representative declined to comment on the particular account. A Twitter source said its platform has very different privacy policies concerning anonymity, thus a decision by Facebook might not necessarily be relevant to Twitter.