It was a verified Twitter account in the name of a World Health Organization official, and it had a wild story to sell. The account in the name of WHO assistant director-general Dr. Jaouad Mahjour alleged a secret Trump administration plot to test a coronavirus vaccine on Black Americans without their knowledge or consent.
The account and its vaccine conspiracy story were fakes. According to Twitter, they were verified thanks to a mistake by a partner organization. Experts say the hoax bears a strong resemblance to tactics used by an “Iran-aligned network of inauthentic websites and online personas,” known as Endless Mayfly. And the WHO stunt isn’t the only content that appears to connect to Endless Mayfly. At least one account linked to a similar hoax attacked Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi expert on militant groups, a few days before he was assassinated. So what is Endless Mayfly and how could it be connected to a recent string of pro-Iran trolling?