A Washington think tank that used fake Twitter and YouTube accounts to amplify its content, and whose cofounder has dubious credentials and a history of shady online activity, is losing key sponsors and has apologized for some of its actions in the wake of a BuzzFeed News investigation.
After being alerted to the fake accounts, Twitter initially left most of them online. It then suspended all remaining accounts Tuesday after BuzzFeed News asked about a Texas lawyer whose photo was stolen and used for a fake profile.
The Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology said in a statement to BuzzFeed News that its cofounder, James Scott, “voluntarily decided to step away from ICIT,” and that it will hire a law firm to conduct “a review of the claims in the article against” him.
The statement sent by ICIT’s remaining cofounder, Parham Eftekhari, apologized for the use of fake Twitter accounts, and the fact that they used stolen photos from people such as a Texas lawyer, a college student, and the CEO of a cybersecurity company.