Fact check: Twitter suspension of fake Réka György account unrelated to Lia Thomas

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The claim: Twitter suspended swimmer Réka György for posting about Lia Thomas

On March 17, University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas became the first transgender woman to win an NCAA championship swimming race.

Three days later, Virginia Tech swimmer Réka György, who placed 17th in the same event, wrote in an open letter that she felt her spot in the finals was taken away from her. The fastest 16 swimmers advance.

Shortly after, a post from what seemed to be György's Twitter account went viral, accruing more than 40,000 retweets and 150,000 likes.

"My finals spot was stolen by Lia Thomas, who is a biological male," read the March 20 tweet. "Until we all refuse to compete nothing will change. Thanks for all the support retweets and follows I wont (sic) stop fighting."

The account was soon suspended, which many social media users claimed was because György spoke out about Thomas.

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"Liberals don’t just want to wipe out women (sic) sports, they want to wipe out their voice also," reads a March 22 post from the Facebook page President Trump Fans.

The post, which accumulated nearly 400 shares within five days, includes a screenshot of a March 21 tweet that reads, "The girl who lost her spot in the NCAA swimming championship just got suspended from Twitter for her post about Lia Thomas." The screenshot has also circulated on Instagram.

But György wasn't suspended from Twitter. The account pictured in the social media posts was an imposter profile that co-opted her name and photo and was banned under Twitter's policy against fake accounts.

USA TODAY reached out to several social media users who shared the post for comment.

Penn swimmer Lia Thomas holds a trophy after winning the 500-yard free final on Thursday.
Penn swimmer Lia Thomas holds a trophy after winning the 500-yard free final on Thursday.

György didn't post tweet, wasn't suspended

Sergio Lopez Miro, director and head swimming and diving coach at Virginia Tech, told USA TODAY the account that posted the viral tweet was not authentic.

"That Twitter account for Réka was fake. I reported it myself," Miro said in an email.

Twitter spokesperson Elizabeth Busby confirmed the account was banned for impersonating György.

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"@RekaGyorgy_ has been permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts," Busby wrote to USA TODAY in an email.

A version of the fake György profile archived March 20 shows the account had not tweeted about swimming prior to March, as the Associated Press reported. Fellow Virginia Tech swimmer Jenna Thompson noted in a March 21 tweet that the account had also previously used a different username.

Some social media users may have been duped by the fake account because no other account exists for György. The impostor tweet is also similar to György's real statement, in which she said "it feels like that final spot was taken away from me because of the NCAA’s decision to let someone who is not a biological female compete."

More: Caitlyn Jenner says trans swimmer Lia Thomas is not the 'rightful winner' of NCAA title

However, in contrast to the impostor tweet, György never called for a boycott of the NCAA in her open letter.

USA TODAY reached out to György for comment.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate the claim that Twitter suspended György for posting about Thomas FALSE. Both György's coach and a spokesperson for Twitter confirmed the account pictured in the social media posts was innot authentic. Twitter suspended the profile for violating its rules against fake accounts.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Fraudulent account suspended amid Lia Thomas controversy