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Fake Twitter Account of New U.S. Ambassador Blocked

Published: August 2, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • John Tefft is a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.
    Photo: U.S. Embassy Kiev / Flickr

A Twitter account purportedly belonging to the new U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft has been taken offline after the social media giant unmasked it as a fake.

The @J_Tefft feed was marked by a series of badly written and bizarre tweets, including a "Happy Birthday" message to bodybuilder and former Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Friday.

"Russia is ready to take me?" said one message posted to the account in early July, after the Kremlin approved Tefft's nomination as ambassador to the country.

The account, which appeared online just last month, was followed by more than 1,700 users, including several journalists and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, according to the report.

However, users attempting to gain access to the sham feed were on Friday greeted with a message from Twitter that "the profile you are trying to view has been suspended."

The account's removal came as news broke that the real John Tefft will soon be moving to Moscow, after members of the U.S. Senate put aside partisan differences to back his appointment as the next ambassador to Russia.

The U.S. has gone without a top-ranking envoy in Russia since March, when former ambassador Michael McFaul left his post to return to the U.S. In the intervening months, relations between the two countries have deteriorated rapidly, with the U.S. accusing Russia of backing a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine after annexing the Crimean Peninsula from it in March.

Tefft, who declined to comment on the fake Twitter account, did not reveal whether he planned to follow in the footsteps of predecessor McFaul by opening a Twitter account upon his arrival in Moscow, the RFE/RL report said.

McFaul, who is followed by more than 80,000 users, was an avid tweeter during his time in Russia, and his usage of the social media network quickly became a trademark of his new-age diplomacy.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Nov. 23


Get in the holiday spirit at today’s Winter Bazzar at the Astoria Hotel. Featuring gifts from around the world such as French eclairs, Dutch cheeses and Indian jewelry, the annual event organized by the International Women’s Club will feature 18 international stands and raise money for charity through the sales of a diversity of products that further illustrate the city’s international connections.



Monday, Nov. 24


Dr. Axel Schulte, Department Head at Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics in Dortmund, Germany, is the featured speaker at the SPIBA Industrial Committee lecture on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Digitalization of the Supply Chain.” The event begins at 4 p.m. at the Graduate School of Management at 3 Volkohvsky Pereulok and registration is required by Nov. 21 either by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.



Tuesday, Nov. 25


Tag along with AmCham during their “Industrial St. Petersburg” Tour program today. This incarnation of the ongoing series will visit Philip Morris Izhora and include an Environmental Health and Safety Committee meeting.


Find out how to expand your business east during the “Business With China” forum beginning today and concluding tomorrow at the Lenexpo convention center. The largest Russian forum dedicated to business with the Asian giant, topics that will be discussed include logistics, customs clearance, trade financing and many more.



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