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Sen. Marco Rubio says Russians made fake @marcorubio tweets

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday said Russians created a picture of a fake tweet meant to look like it came from his Twitter account and shared it around the Internet.

The Florida Republican posted to Twitter an image of what appeared to be a tweet from his own account. In it, Rubio accused British intelligence of trying to influence the 2020 elections through “Deep Fakes,” or alarmingly convincing falsified videos.

But he never tweeted it, he said. And he warned the fake tweets, which he said was Russian created, are “minor compared to what’s ahead.”

Rubio is a prolific tweeter and he has indeed raised the alarm about deep fakes. However, the tweet in question here is nowhere in his Twitter history.

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A member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Rubio has previously warned about Russian efforts to use social media to undermine democracy here and abroad. If this continues, he said Wednesday, it could have dire consequences.

“Imagine if image was of a fake tweet from leader in a part of world with tensions running high. Or if it was a deep fake video that exacerbated bilateral tensions between two nations on the brink of war,” Rubio said. “Information warfare is a powerful weapon we should not take lightly.”

The scenario Rubio described isn’t just feasible, it has already happened. According to a New York Times story, falsified reports in Myanmar of the rape of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man intentionally shared on Facebook by military officials contributed to a genocidein the Southeast Asian country.

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© 2019 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.