- One of the most influential Trump-supporting Twitter accounts, ilDonaldoTrumpo (@ilDonaldoTrumpo), was suspended on May 3rd, 2021.
- On the same day, the account owner recreated the account under a different handle (@ilSharko).
- This clear attempt to skirt the suspension may be a violation of Twitter’s policies. This is at least the 2nd time this account has been suspended/banned, making it the 3rd iteration of the account.
- Opinion: allowing ilDonald to keep recreating his banned account makes a mockery of Twitter rules. However, Twitter also owes the public a specific explanation when they ban influential accounts.
Who is @ilDonaldoTrumpo?
IlDonaldo Trumpo (@ilDonaldoTrumpo, now @ilSharko) is a highly influential Twitter user who uses comedy to support the Trumpist wing of the Republican Party. As of May 3rd (the day of the ban) the account had 164,000 followers. 1
It’s clear the account is highly influential in MAGA circles. Virtually every ilDonaldoTrumpo hundreds of likes and thousands of retweets. It’s pinned tweet had 3.9k Retweets and 19k likes.
Influential MAGA accounts love ilDonaldoTrumpo. There appears to be some connection to the Catturd account (currently 503k followers) as can be seen from @ilDonaldoTrump’s pinned Tweet before the ban.
The account has also been praised by MAGA influencers such as Jenna Ellis (862.7k followers).2
Love you too, el Presidente! 😘— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) April 16, 2021
IlDonaldoTrumpo History of Banning
The Il Donaldo Trumpo account has been banned before. Before the most recent suspension, the profile read, “please no ban me again” making clear the account was banned before January 2021, the creation of the @ilDonaldoTrumpo handle.
The Suspension of @ilDonaldoTrumpo
On May 3rd 2021, the @ilDonaldoTrumpo account was suspended and remains so on the date of writing this article (May 7th, 2021).4
It’s not clear why the account was suspended. The last tweet available on Google Cache contains vulgar langauge about the former first lady, Melania Trump. This may have been the reason for the ban.
The suspension could also be related to this tweet (which we haven’t been able to verify) to Liz Cheney.5
Ironically, as we’ve seen above ilDonaldo’s criticism is a bit dishonest as the account wasn’t created 3 months ago, it was re-created after a suspension, and likely able to grow quick because of it’s prior connections/reputation.
Banned for Using Fake Accounts?
This is just speculation but since Twitter is providing us no real information, that’s all we have to go on. There’s a possibility the account was banned, like the conservative James O’Keefe, for using fake accounts to boost it’s reach. There seems to be some strange behavior around IlDonaldo’s apparent friends such as Catturd and Jack Posobiec. While this is admittedly speculation, it seems just as likely that Il Donaldo was banned for using fake accounts to grow as that he was banned for language in his actual tweets.
ilDonaldo Trumpo now @ilSharko
The new account handle is, @ilSharko and is using it’s connections to grow quickly.
Follow @ilSharko Patriots and sports fans— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) May 4, 2021
It’s also baiting Jack Dorsey (something the last account did too), stating as it’s profile description “IL SHARKO SMELLS TWITTER JACKO FEAR… IL SHARKO LIKES!!!”
Is the Ban Justified?
Based on the information above, it’s not clear if the ban is justified. Twitter may have seen the, “forcing down our throats” comment to as an innuendo, which would seem banworthy. Or, Twitter may have another perfectly good reason for banning the account (maybe they’ve said worse things over DM), but they owe it to the public to explain why.
Twitter’s Enforcement Needs More Transparency
Simply saying cryptically, “this account violated our rules” isn’t enough. These are very important decisions and the public has a right to at least know why they are being made.
Skirting Suspensions and Twitter Rules.
As we’ve shown, this is the 2nd time ilDonaldoTrumpo is re-creating it’s account after a suspension. Even if these are just bans on the specific accounts (allowing a user to start over under a new handle), ilDonaldoTrumpo is an instructive case. Someone with connections like this one can just recreate their account, get retweets from their influential connections, and quickly grow back to what they were before.
Based on the most recent tweets, @ilSharko is getting about as much reach as the old @ilDonaldoTrumpo suspended account, and it’s been less than a week.
@ilSharko is clearly exploiting a loophole, and Twitter should, in combination with the greater transparency we supported above, consider closing such loopholes used to avoid their penalties.