I followed this account for months after seeing how many major right wingers were retweeting it. Eventually I was blocked but I never dreamed it was by Russians.
Buzzfeed News reports:
Twitter took 11 months to close a Russian troll account that claimed to speak for the Tennessee Republican Party even after that state’s real GOP notified the social media company that the account was a fake.
The account, @TEN_GOP, was enormously popular, amassing at least 136,000 followers between its creation in November 2015 and when Twitter shut it down in August, according to a snapshot of the account captured by the Internet Archive just before the account was “permanently suspended.”
@TEN_GOP gained enough support from the far right that when it was finally shut down, commentators like Reddit’s pro-Trump r/the_donald forum expressed outrage. Jack Posobiec, a pro-Trump internet activist who himself has more than 213,000 Twitter followers, questioned the action when Twitter temporarily suspended the account in July.
In contrast, the actual Tennessee GOP’s Twitter account, @tngop, has only 13,400 followers, despite being the Twitter voice of the state party since 2007.
After Twitter finally booted the Russian troll account TEN_GOP, it resurfaced under another handle and quickly won praise from Trump.
So nice, thank you! https://t.co/Cg4dzHhbrv
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 20, 2017