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Tech / Social Media

Campaign Aide Quits Over False Sandy Tweets

October 31, 2012

Shashank Tripathi, campaign manager for Christopher Wight, a Republican candidate in New York's 12th Congressional District, resigned his post and apologized to New Yorkers for a series of deliberately false tweets put out as Hurricane Sandy was devastating New York City.

Tweeting under the handle @ComfortablySmug, Tripathi announced that the New York Stock Exchange was flooded, a story that was picked up by several news outlets including CNN before being debunked, He also tweeted Con Edison planned to shut off all power to New York City. These hoax messages were mixed into his feed of largely accurate storm-related tweets, gleaned from cable TV and online sources.

In his apology, Tripathi took responsibility for the false tweets and sought to shield Wight from any fallout, writing that, "It is my sincere hope that the voters of New York will see him based on his merits alone, and not my actions of the last 24 hours." New York's 12th District contains includes large swaths of Manhattan that were flooded and plunged into darkness as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Tripathi was originally identified as the person behind @ComfortablySmug Twitter account by BuzzFeed.

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