- ‘Penis fish’ memes erupt after worms wash up on California coast Friday 5:58 PM
- Why Britons are tweeting ‘Little England’ in wake of the U.K. election Friday 3:22 PM
- Net neutrality advocates ask for rehearing on federal court decision Friday 2:29 PM
- Americans are sharing their #PrivateHealthLIFEhacks to help Brits Friday 2:28 PM
- Warren, Sanders, Yang pledge to skip next week’s debate over union dispute Friday 2:12 PM
- How to watch tonight’s Nets vs. Raptors matchup on NBA TV Friday 2:00 PM
- Alt-right comedian Owen Benjamin banned from Instagram over anti-Semitic memes Friday 1:55 PM
- TikTok teens are procrastinating with #FinalsWeek Friday 1:46 PM
- ‘The Mandalorian’ takes on a prison break in episode 6 Friday 1:30 PM
- Nick Cannon vs. Eminem battle expected to escalate after ‘off-limits’ daughter diss Friday 12:50 PM
- Laura Loomer vehemently denies being author of new Laura Loomer-themed action novel Friday 12:30 PM
- PewDiePie’s poop-inspired game gets banned by Apple Friday 11:29 AM
- ‘Game of Thrones’ showrunners to adapt ‘Lovecraft’ graphic novel to screen Friday 11:00 AM
- The 50 memes that defined the decade Friday 10:45 AM
- Venmo users are getting harassed with fraudulent payment requests Friday 10:38 AM
Man uses Twitter account to trick English town into believing he’s the mayor
Apparently all you need to be mayor is the right Twitter account.
The life of a politician can be exhausting, with a packed schedule of championing local businesses, cheering on marathon runners, and congratulating the elderly on their birthdays.
That is, if you’re an actual politician.
The Stafford Borough Council demanded that Twitter shut down a fake account after a man tricked the 120,000-person English town into thinking he was their mayor. The man, James Billington, believed to be in his mid-30s, duped local politicians, business owners, and residents after creating and posting to an account under the handle @mayorofstafford.
During his stint as fake mayor, Billington attended a ribbon cutting ceremony for Alton Towers, an area theme park. He also received invites to events from local business such as the Stafford Round Table and the Local Stafford Book Club.
— Mayor of Stafford (@mayorofstafford) March 22, 2014
The council’s objection to the fake account were prompted when the mayor of the nearby town Shrewsbury was insulted by the fake mayor. Apparently Billington wrote a tweet comparing the Shrewsbury mayor to “one of the bad guys from Superman 2.”
Once the council caught wind of the tweet, the actual mayor of Stafford, Angela Loughran, spoke out. “Nobody minds a bit of fun on social media,” she said. “But it is unacceptable that this person is purporting to be the mayor of Stafford and making disparaging remarks about another mayor.”
In England, mayor has traditionally been a ceremonial post with little responsibility or duties attached to it, which could explain how Billington was able to trick residents for more than two weeks.
“I feel so stupid, I believed it was him,” resident Bal Singh told the Daily Mail. “How many people know the name of their town mayor? There was no reason to disbelieve him.”
As of now, Billington’s account has not been shut down.
Heard on the grapevine that someone is going around impersonating mayors. #Notonmywatch
— Mayor of Stafford (@mayorofstafford) March 27, 2014
Photo by John McLinden/Flicker (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Elizabeth Robinson is a tech reporter whose work for the Daily Dot focused on social media trends, smart home technology, and apps. In March 2017, she joined San Antonio Express-News as a digital producer.