Apart from this ploy, Mackey attempted to influence the election in other ways. At one point, he had over 58,000 followers on Twitter, and the MIT Media Lab found he was more influential than Stephen Colbert and NBC News in the 2016 election. That same year, Twitter forbade him, as well as a variety of other prolific accounts of the alternative right at the time, for harassment.
“This indictment underscores the ministry’s commitment to investigate and prosecute those who violate citizens’ right to vote,” said Nicholas L. McQuaid, acting deputy attorney general in the agency’s criminal division. The arrest is the first major example of the Department of Justice’s online electoral fraud. So far, the federal government has mostly left Facebook Twitter and other social media companies to apply their own platforms.