Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the sole witness to testify and commented on her recent recall, the culmination an effort that was led by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
But according to BuzzFeed News, Twitter punished users who tweeted “I hired Donald Trump to fire people like Yovanovitch,” a phrase that began trending on the platform, with “several” Twitter accounts suspended for sharing it.
BuzzFeed News reported that the rate at which the phrase began trending was “consistent with the coordinated inauthentic behavior expected from a network of bots or sock puppet accounts.” Its analysis showed that “at least 7,320 tweets (including retweets) were posted that included the words posted in the first 45 minutes” and that 83 accounts “tweeted or retweeted the phrase over 10 times each.” The phrase also appeared on other platforms like Facebook and Youtube.
One prominent user, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted a similar saying; “America hired @realDonaldTrump to fire people like the first three witnesses we’ve seen. Career government bureaucrats and nothing more.”
BuzzFeed News’ report pointed to several other Twitter accounts, including one that retweeted the phrase 136 times in 11 minutes. Multiple pro-Trump accounts who tweeted or retweeted the phrase denied to BuzzFeed News that they had any involvement with bots.
According to a Twitter insider familiar with the matter, its initial investigations “have not found evidence of bot activity amplifying the phrase” and that the activity was “driven by organic, authentic conversation.”