In a truly inspirational display of social media stalking, Slate’s Ashley Feinberg managed to successfully track down a secret social media account belonging to one Senator Mitt Romney.
The hunt began after Romney let it slip to McKay Coppins in a recent Atlantic profile that he uses a secret Twitter account to keep tabs on the political conversation, specifically — as a deep dive into the account’s following later revealed — the political conversation surrounding Mitt Romney.
Romney took some pains to keep the account under wraps, revealing only that he was following 668 people including an assortment of journalists, athletes and late-night night comedians — specifically one Conan O’Brien, AKA “the big redhead from Boston.” In letting this seemingly benign info slip, however, Romney had greatly underestimated the dedication and savvy with which young journalists easily mine social media. From the few details the senator provided, Feinberg was able to identify Romney’s secret Twitter account as one going by the name Pierre Delecto, handle @qaws9876.
Feinberg first located the conspicuously inconspicuous account with no profile picture among the Twitter followers of Romney’s oldest granddaughter, Allie Romney Critchlow. From there, the then-public account all but bled supporting evidence. The Pierre account joined Twitter in July 2011, one month after Romney announced his run for president. It also follows an array of political reporters, specifically those who have found themselves on the Romney beat over the years.
Among the assortment of obviously Romney-related accounts are also what Feinberg calls “accounts it’s hard to imagine anyone but Mitt Romney following.” These include such oddities as whoever managed to lock down the @SenRomney Twitter handle but firmly asserts they are “definitely not the junior senator from Utah,” a pro-Romney parody account that goes by the handle @AltPresRomney, and various accounts for Romney stans like @NY4Mitt and @MittRomney_2016.
When Feinberg’s deep dive first published Sunday evening, it was still just a hunch, albeit a pretty strong one. A mere three hours later, however, after Pierre Delecto frantically toggled between making the account public and private a few times, Romney confirmed the account was his. According to a tweet from Coppins, Romney claimed the account over the phone in true Pierre fashion, telling Coppins only, “C’est moi.”
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