A suspicious Twitter account that allegedly made negative comments about Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts is now under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to the campaign of Sen. Ed Markey.
The account, which used the Twitter handle @Markeychusetts, first posted on Aug. 23 and made negative comments against the Kennedy campaign, pretending to be a supporter of the senator, the Markey campaign said Tuesday.
When the Markey campaign asked supporters to report the account to Twitter, the handle was deleted the night of Aug. 24, officials with the campaign said.
Kennedy is challenging Markey in a primary election for his Senate seat next Tuesday.
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While the account did not have any followers and was not following any other accounts, it was "quote-tweeting the Kennedy campaign staff and supporters with insults."
In an effort to protect election interference, the Markey campaign said they notified the FBI.
"Election interference is a serious threat to our democracy," Markey campaign manager John Walsh said. "Our campaign will continue to take the steps to ensure that we do not have outside interference or any other malicious conduct impacting this election."
"It has been over 24 hours since the Kennedy campaign asked Senator Markey to personally disavow the attacks, abuse, and death threats made against Congressman Kennedy and his supporters online," Kennedy's campaign manager, Nick Clemons, said in a statement Tuesday. "Since then, hundreds across the state — including former Markey supporters — have called on the Senator to do the right thing and take a stand against this kind of harassment and hate. The reporting of one suspicious twitter handle does not absolve him of that responsibility."
Recently, Clemons sent a letter to Walsh regarding what he described as cyberbullying by Markey supporters.
"Your campaign has responded with silence, ridicule and thinly veiled efforts to actually insight further attacks," Clemons said.
Walsh tweeted back his response, saying in part: "I am disappointed that as someone I have known for years you are choosing to end this campaign with crocodile tears."
Walsh said Markey has put up with nonstop Kennedy-supported harassment, including a truck blaring a negative message at Markey events.