It became a notorious viral Tweet, a photograph of a Muslim woman walking past victims of the Westminster terror attacks, with a caption suggesting she was ignoring them.
But the account which shared it was run by Russian trolls aiming to ‘sow discord’ in the West, it has been revealed.
The account @SouthLoneStar shared the image, saying, ‘Muslim woman pays no mind to the terror attack, casually walks by a dying man while checking phone#PrayForLondon #Westminster #BanIslam.’
The Tweet went viral and was included in news reports around the world – but it’s since been discovered that the account was a Russian fake.
The account described itself as, ‘Proud TEXAN and AMERICAN patriot’ – and posted other divisive right-wing commentary including comments on Brexit.
Many similar accounts – including ‘alt right ‘commentator Jenna Abrams – have turned out to be fakes, run by Russian intelligence operatives to sow discord in the West.
In a speech in the City of London last night, Prime Minister Theresa May accused Moscow of ‘deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions.’
Mrs May said, ‘So I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.’
The woman in the image made clear afterwards she was horrified by Khalid Masood’s attack – but the image was seized on by racists and the hard right.
The so-called ‘Texas Lone Star’ account also – mysteriously – posted content about Brexit, saying, ‘I hope UK after #BrexitVote will start to clean their land from muslim invasion!’
Jonathon Morgan, CEO of New Knowledge said, ‘The account occasionally wades into a European political discussion, which is not what I would expect a domestically-focused Conservative Texan to do under any circumstance.’
The account was identified as Russian in a Twitter list published by American Democrats.
It has since been closed down.