The troll account, pretending to be that of Australian activist and feminist campaigner Caitlin Roper, posted abuse and graphic images and promoted a tweet using Twitter’s paid-for native advertising service which called for trans people to kill themselves
The promoted tweet started appearing in the Twitter streams of many users who reacted with anger both at the content and the fact that Twitter had promoted the tweet.
The account was suspended within hours by Twitter after multiple reports of abuse. The promoted tweet was also pulled from the service.
Roper, the activist whose account was impersonated, has been targeted for abuse before, including cloned accounts pretending to be her and making derogatory sexual comments.
She has been targeted by various “men’s rights groups” including a group called A Voice For Men. At this stage it is not known who was behind the troll account on Twitter.
Earlier this year Twitter announced a crackdown on abuse, with tighter rules on what can be permitted on the social network, including banning indirect threats of violence.
The company also announced it would be implementing a new filter that would automatically block threatening messages from reaching users.
How the abusive tweet slipped through Twitter’s ads approval process is unknown.
The Guardian has asked Twitter to explain how an abusive tweet could be promoted using its paid-for advertising service. A Twitter spokesperson said: “As soon as we were made aware we removed the ad and suspended the account.”
This article was written by Samuel Gibbs, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 20th May 2015 16.48 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010