During the 2016 election, Douglass Mackey, also known online as “Ricky Vaughn,” was charged with deliberately disseminating false information to undermine Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning the popular vote.
According to the press release, Mackey and other social media influencers planned to “disseminate fraudulent messages that encouraged supporters of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to ‘vote’ via text message or social media, which was illegal,” between September 2016 and November 2016.
One instance of Mackey’s crimes, as mentioned by the DOJ, occurred on November 1, 2016, just one week before election day, when he tweeted a picture of a Black woman posing in front of a sign that read, “African Americans for Hillary.”
Around this time, Mackey tweeted that “black turnout” in the race should be restricted, according to the DOJ. Ignore the Line. “Vote from Home,” Mackey tweeted in an advertisement. Vote for Hillary and be a part of history by texting “Hillary” to 59925.
- Mackey and other social media influencers planned to disseminate fraudulent messages.
- On Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted ‘Hillary‘.
- In January 2021, Mackey was detained in West Palm Beach, Florida.
In its press release, the DOJ noted that “on or about and before Election Day 2016, at least 4,900 unique telephone numbers texted ‘Hillary’ or some derivative to the 59925-text number, which had been used in multiple misleading campaign images tweeted by Mackey and his co-conspirators.”
A few hours after tweeting the fake advertisement, Mackey posted another image of a lady using her phone to type in Spanish while using a font resembling that of Clinton’s campaign. The hashtag “ImWithHer” was used once more in the captions, which were penned in Spanish, according to the DOJ.
In January 2021, Mackey was detained in West Palm Beach, Florida. He was a resident of New York City when the texts were sent.
The Associated Press reported earlier this year that Twitter claimed to have cooperated “closely with appropriate authorities on the issue.”
According to Politico, Mackey’s punishment will take place on August 16. Mackey’s counsel, Andrew Frisch, expressed optimism regarding an appeal of the judgment.