Conservatives on Twitter discovered on Monday that website domain MAGAPill.co, formerly a redirect to pro-Trump news aggregator and conspiracy website MAGAPill.com, is sending traffic to Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 presidential campaign website.
The address redirect was first noticed by a conservative activist on Twitter, who found that the MAGApill.co hyperlink generated a tweet preview for Warren’s website and forwarded traffic there. The user published a video showing the discovery.
BREAKING: The @ewarren campaign is trying to reroute website traffic from https://t.co/CLmHqbWbfJ— [email protected]🇺🇸 (@EricSpracklen) August 27, 2019
They must be absolutely terrified of #Trump2020 and people seeing that huge list! pic.twitter.com/EJt7ToYEKm
Soon, conservatives were accusing the Warren presidential campaign of owning and parking the domain.
FYI: warren campaign bought, parked and redirect https://t.co/y5meFywYUy. This is just a screwup by magapill. And a smart move by Warren supporters. What’s fishy is no data available on https://t.co/uw0U5sUOBX registrant. Either they just registered it or it’s not allowed in dB.— Metavinci (@metavinci) August 27, 2019
Other users were quick to point out that anyone could be behind the domain.
Anybody could own https://t.co/WynFcfeIi9 and do that FYI— Vince (@vince_dicola) August 27, 2019
https://t.co/XUmWssYARX redirects to the @ewarren campaign's website–this doesn't mean that the @ewarren campaign has anything to do with https://t.co/XUmWssYARX. Any website can be set up to redirect to any other website.— Charles Noblet (@Chuck__Noblet) August 27, 2019
MAGAPill.com has been around for a couple of years now with the stated aim “to preserve President Trump’s legacy by archiving and listing his accomplishments,” but the website has been known to also push both anti-Semitic and QAnon conspiracy theories.
Links to the website have circulated on Reddit’s infamous pro-Trump community The Donald for a couple of years now and turn up on notorious internet forum 4chan.
In late November 2017, the president himself even retweeted MAGAPill’s Twitter account. Soon after that, the website at MAGAPill.com went down, however, with its owners taking to social media to claim a conspiracy to suppress information, MAGAPill.co emerged as an alternative domain for the website. As the discussion around what happened to the original website emerged on Reddit, users on The Donald promoted the new .co domain.
MAGAPill.com returned, but as recently as late November 2018 the MAGAPill.co domain was active as a mirror of the main MAGAPill website. A quick look at Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine screenshots of the website from that time, however, suggest that at some stage the .co domain was itself suspended and unsuspended around December 2018.
By February the .co domain remained disconnected from the MAGAPill website, and traffic led to a holding page by the registrar suggesting the domain’s owners update the nameservers.
Then, according to domain registration records, the MAGAPill.co domain was renewed or purchased in July 2019 using a German registrar company called Key Systems. The IP location also suggests the servers are now hosted by French cloud computing company OVH.
Now, mysteriously, anyone headed to MAGAPill.co finds themselves landed on Warren’s campaign homepage.
Indeed, it’s uncertain who exactly is behind the domain. It could be, as the conservatives claim, that Democratic activists or European trolls have snapped up the domain in a bid to mess with MAGAPill readers. Less likely, pro-Trump trolls could be trying to raise the profile of MAGAPill by manufacturing outrage.
All that is known, for now, is that MAGAPill.co is dumping conspiracy theory-loving Trump supporters at Warren’s campaign homepage.
The Daily Dot has reached out to the Warren campaign for comment.