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Media figures and officials are suckered by a troll's Ohio voter fraud joke

A Twitter joke. None
A Twitter joke.

There's not much of a mystery what happened here: Some folks who should've known better got hoaxed by a rando from the Internet.

Let's start from the beginning, with the culprit.

On his profile, the anonymous Twitter user @randygdub (who says he is a man) calls himself "the cool and chill guy of online." What he is, more accurately, is an adherent of Weird Twitter – a surrealist style of Twitter humor known for fake anecdotes, lefty politics and copious trolling.

Basically, Weird Twitter enjoys taking advantage of strangers who aren't in on the joke.

Typically – if you were, say, a normal person – you wouldn't need to pay much attention to Weird Twitter. But then Election 2016 happened and Donald Trump started alleging mass voter fraud (with no evidence), and @randygdub took advantage of the situation.

Other users took the bait.

The trap was set.

The situation only escalated.

Though not everybody missed the joke.

And so on and so forth, trolly troll troll troll troll.

But then @randygdub's tweets got picked up by the conservative blogger Jim Hoft, also known as Gateway Pundit, who missed the signs of blatant and egregious trolling. Hoft posted a story titled: "POSTAL WORKER Brags Online About Destroying Trump Ballots"

Then Gateway Pundit's post got picked up by Matt Drudge's Drudge Report, an influential conservative aggregator:

Then the story got picked up by conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh.

“Let me ask you this,” Limbaugh said, according to the Daily Beast. “If a postal worker went on social media — I don’t care what it was, Facebook Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, you name it — and was bragging about destroying Hillary absentee ballots, do you think they’d be trying to hunt this guy down and put him in jail with the guy who made the video about the started Benghazi?"

The cops got involved.

Ohio's secretary of state got involved.

The U.S. Postal Service – inundated by tweets from concerned users, who themselves had been inundated by paranoid yet strangely unskeptical media outlets – got involved.

And after some investigating, it looks like the Postal Service got a handle on the situation.

"The Postal Service has completed an initial investigation of the mentioned tweets and does not believe these tweets were made by a postal employee," the Postal Service said in a statement to anybody who tweeted at them for help. "However, the Postal Service will continue to monitor this situation and if it is determined that the individual making the tweets is a postal employee and there is substantiated evidence of mail being tampered with or destroyed, then the Postal Service will take appropriate corrective action to address the situation."

Meanwhile, back on planet @randygdub, the heist was complete. He even made it on TV.

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