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Fake Will Smith Tweet Causing Controversy

WIll Smith
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

A recent Tweet comparing the tragic Trayvon Martin shooting with the Kim Kardashian flour incident went viral because it was seemingly sent by actor Will Smith. Except it wasn’t. The Tweet was from Twitter user @RealWillSmith, who is not, in fact, the real Will Smith.

The Tweet was posted on March 23rd and retweeted more than 50 times, including retweets by Spike Lee, Rosie O’Donnell and Omarosa. A screen shot of the Tweet has also been making its way around the Web. You could argue that part of its popularity stems from the fact that it seems to have been composed by Will Smith.

@ReaIWiIISmith Tweet

The Twitter account is a parody account made to appear to be that of actor Will Smith, based on the name “Real Will Smith” and the fact that a photo of the actor in ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ that is used to represent the account. In actuality, the real Will Smith does not have a publicly known Twitter account and there is no evidence of him originating the quote.

The Tweet in question reads:

WE live in America where a girl that threw flour on Kim Kardashian was arrested on site. But the man who KILLED Trayvon Martin is still free

There is also a Twitter user @realwillsmith, who appears to be a young white man in Nashville, but the two accounts do not seem to be connected, based on this recent tweet by the user who is directing new followers to the Will Smith parody account.

If you’ve recently followed me, you’re probably looking for this Will Smith parody account that’s had some media attention: @realwillsmith

Because there are so many parody accounts on Twitter, they have devised a system for authenticating celebrity accounts, so users know they are following the real celebrity. You can tell when a celebrity account is authenticated by the white checkmark in a blue circle by the username. These two accounts named for Samuel L. Jackson are a good example. One is authentic, the other an easily constructed fake.

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