Someone is trying to prank the UN with fake Twitter accounts

On Monday, a newly created Twitter account, which supposedly belonged to former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres, made what looked like a game changing announcement in the race to become the next Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“The Russian MFA has endorsed my candidacy for UN Gen Secretary,” it said.

Guterres has held a steady lead in the straw polls conducted by the Security Council, but he could still be derailed by a Russian veto. An endorsement would essentially guarantee his election victory.

Needless to say, UN diplomats and journalists scrambled to figure out if Guterres had spilled the beans on a Russian promise to not use its veto power. A very undiplomatic move for a senior diplomat.

The account, as it turned out, was a hoax and Twitter quickly moved to suspend it.

As if that wasn’t enough. Twitter later had to suspend another account. This one claimed to be Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin.

Whomever was behind it didn’t have time for subtleties, as he or she immediately tweeted out a false rumor that the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was dead.

Needless to say, Gorbachev is very much alive and celebrated his 85th birthday in March of this year.

It’s pretty clear that someone with a working knowledge of the UN is trying to stir up some panic during the organization’s busiest time of the year. The best move is probably to scrutinize these accounts the way NBA fans remain vigilant before the trade deadline, as to not be fooled into thinking Lebron James has been traded to New York for an everything bagel and two Arizonas.