Phony @MayorJonesRVA Twitter account suspended

Posted at 6:07 PM, Nov 20, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-21 00:12:43-05
Mayor Jones fake account as of 5 p.m. Nov. 20.

Fake account as of 5 p.m. Nov. 20.

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- In the wee hours of Monday morning Mayor Dwight Jones entered the twitter universe. At 1:42 am came his very first tweet. Or so we thought. As it turns out so did social media guru Dave Saunders.

"I thought the mayor is finally on twitter and I was very excited and I followed him right away," said Saunders.

Saunders says even he was spoofed by what looked like a legitimate account, with a link to a Richmond city government webpage. The twitter posts continued throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, all with an appropriate mayoral like tone.

So CBS 6 and several other media outlets started to ask for verification. We began asking the Mayor’s Office to confirm these tweets were in fact the work of Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones.

Wednesday evening at an awards banquet we got our answer directly from the mayor.

"I think people need to know that it's not me," said Jones.

The mayor takes a casual stance to the fake account. No harm no foul he claimed.

Mayor Jones fake account as of 10 p.m. Nov. 20.

Mayor Jones fake account as of 10 p.m. Nov. 20.

But his press secretary, Tammy Hawley, takes it more seriously, calling it a fraud that needs to stop. By this evening the twitter handle had been changed to look more like a parody with sunglasses over Jones picture and the word parody written in the description.

Saunders says impersonators pop up all the time and so if you can't beat them… join them…at least on twitter.

"My advice to the mayor is to get on twitter and talk to the people and then people will be much more interested in him than a troll pretending to be him," said Saunders.

The mayor claims he may just take that suggestion.

"I think I'm going to have to, I think I'm going to have join the 21st century and get a twitter account," said Jones.

CBS 6 direct messaged the twitter account pretending to be Jones and asked for an interview. Instead the account sent a video response that tells Jones they have no intention of removing the account and that he should get one of his own.

At last check, the @mayorjonesrva Twitter account had been suspended.