One of the many online pranks in the 2016 election season was a purported image of an Oregon ballot shared via Twitter (but since removed), a photograph that seemingly showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton listed twice but no entry for Republican nominee Donald Trump.
The tweet by John Lussier included several hashtags commonly used by Trump supporters, to induce them to retweet it (which they did, thousands of times). Lussier soon tweeted again to announce that his previous tweet had been a hoax:
In case it's not super obvious that last tweet from me is a hoax. Don't believe everything you read on the internet folks.
— john lussier (@JohnLuce) October 21, 2016
He also said in a separate statement that the his tweet used a digitally manipulated image of a real ballot:
A friend photoshopped that ballot image and posted in on Facebook. I shared it on Twitter and tagged some influential folks from the #TrumpTrain on Twitter — I wanted to see their reaction. I was not expecting so many retweets and shares. I’m now getting all kinds of replies: “Look, this all is rigged!” “Can this be real?” “My ballot has Trump on it!” After it took off I wanted to make sure folks knew it was fake, but by then it was too late. I’m not sure whether to delete the tweet, or continue replying to people letting them know, “Hey this was a hoax. You can’t trust everything you read or see and we’re each responsible for checking on the information we pass on.” It’s shocking to me how much traction this has. Folks are clearly worried about this election, and this kind of hoax resonates with their worries. At the end of the day I hope this causes people to look a little more carefully at what they’re spreading, and to get out and vote responsibly. I’m glad people are finally looking at their ballots.