Douglass Mackey, a right-wing provocateur, was accused of spreading memes that made Hillary Clinton supporters falsely believe they could cast ballots in 2016 via text message.
A man who was known as a far-right Twitter troll was arrested on Wednesday and charged with spreading disinformation online that tricked Democratic voters in 2016 into trying to cast their ballots by phone instead of going to the polls.
Federal prosecutors accused Douglass Mackey, 31, of coordinating with co-conspirators to spread memes on Twitter falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton’s supporters could vote by sending a text message to a specific phone number.
The co-conspirators were not named in the complaint, but one of them was Anthime Gionet, a far-right media personality known as “Baked Alaska,” who was arrested after participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.
As a result of the misinformation campaign, prosecutors said, at least 4,900 unique phone numbers texted the number in a futile effort to cast votes for Mrs. Clinton.
Mr. Mackey was arrested on Wednesday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla., in what appeared to be the first criminal case in the country involving voter suppression through the spread of disinformation on Twitter.