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UPDATE: Aug. 6, 2017, 5:56 p.m. EDT A representative of heavy.com has contacted Mashable, explaining they have spoken with "the woman whose name was used to create multiple accounts connected to ProTrump45," who claims her identity has been stolen and plans to file a police report. Heavy's story has since been substantially altered, removing mentions of the real Mincy, who forcefully stated that she doesn't sell Trump merchandise or have anything to do with him. Further, Trump's earlier Twitter shout-out now points to the same tweet as before, but from a different account. This one belongs to @AlexandriaM0ra, and features the same profile photo as the earlier fake Mincey account. There's obviously more to this story than anyone knows right now. We'll Original post follows: Sure, fake news runs rampant now more than ever—but don't let it distract you from another threat: fake Twitter accounts. When Donald Trump tweeted his appreciation on Saturday to a "supporter" named Nicole Mincey/@protrump45, Twitter user @Rschooley debunked the account's identity, explaining in a thread exactly why "Nicole" and a variety of other Twitter users were in fact fakes, not actual Trump supporters. Buckle up—this gets interesting. SEE ALSO: Meet the Twitter bot that will give you all the Trump news you ever need So the person Trump retweeted today that's accused of being a bot. She joined Twitter in January, a full blown Trump believer. — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 Schooley shared an article from Heavy.com that lays out a vague backstory for Nicole: she's a hardworking student who grew up in poverty and went on to start a pro-Trump apparel company. The Heavy article makes a case that Nicole is not the "bot" some have proclaimed her to be, pointing to social media accounts belonging to a woman named Ahyanah Nicole Mincy. It's worth noting that none of the publicly visible activity on those other accounts makes mention of Trump or the ProTrump45 business. Further, Schooley points out that all the information uncovered in that article come from another source, the Daily Caller, and that other article seems to have been provided to the site by Nicole herself. I didn't see any real autobiographical details, such as college name or parents name. — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 We could find only one other instance of ProTrump45's Nicole Mincey appearing in the media, in an apparent interview with WorldNetDaily, a right-leaning news aggregator. Schooley doesn't discuss the WND story, but it's worth noting that the quotes attributed to Nicole are as vague about her life and background as they are in her Daily Caller story. The plot thickens even further here, as other, apparently fake Twitter users — all of which tweet each other — enter the picture. Schooley found one account, allegedly belonging to Kendra Manning, that actively supports Nicole. Manning claims to be a woman who blogs at Buzzfeed — though she has no bylines on the site. Photos of her on the account are also suspicious: most — possibly all — seem to come from Placeit, a stock photo service that includes pictures of young people in blank shirts. Just your typical young hipster Trump supporter. https://t.co/EyRTxxtfRk pic.twitter.com/KyCUHM67ap — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 Nicole also has a connection to Placeit. Her old, since-changed Twitter profile photo — which originally appeared (and still appears, as of this writing) in the Heavy story — was also from the stock image site. The woman in Heavy's header image (on the right in the tweet below) is just an extreme close-up of the woman in the stock photo, on the left. #6 She isn't a real person. pic.twitter.com/p81dYu2rNV — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 At some point after Schooley's above tweet, Heavy changed the article's top image to one of Ahyanah Nicole Mincy. See here: Different day, different photographImage: Meanwhile, Manning's Medium account — which, as of this writing, is suspended — has a blog post about Nicole and her Trump-focused apparel company—only it's the same exact piece as the ones that appear in the Daily Caller and elsewhere. Schooley also found that many of the bots, Nicole's included, circulate memes and fake news stories. Literally dozens of these memes on this bot account. pic.twitter.com/i4k31mrrZi — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 While diversity might be an issue in Trump's base, in Schooley's view that definitely isn't the case when it comes to fake followers. Never let it be said that Trump doesn't have diverse fictional followers. pic.twitter.com/qbt7UdmOpK — Schooley (@Rschooley) August 6, 2017 Despite overwhelming evidence provided by Schooley's detailed theory, the safest bet to confirm whether or not the person behind the account and ProTrump45 store is real is to hear from the women in the photographs themselves. Mashable has reached out to Ahyanah Nicole Mincy — not through @ProTrump45 — for further clarification. With that being said—will the real Nicole Mincey please stand up? WATCH: 5 things millennials have ruined
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