A Twitter internet troll told transgender people to kill themselves in a series of Promoted Tweet adverts pushed out to thousands of users.
Two of the tweets read: "Trannies, getting surgery won't change your gender. It will only turn you into a deformed freak. End your miserable existence. Kill yourself," and "Trannies, your families will never love you. You are living a lie & you know it. End your miserable existence. Commit suicide now."
A third said: "You are living a delusion. Get a rope & hang yourself. You know you want to. End it all now."
The account was created by an anonymous user to impersonate Australian activist and feminist Caitlin Roper before posting abusive and graphic images on 20 May. Some of the account's tweets were published by Twitter as 'Promoted' tweets -- something normally reserved for brands to use as advertising and a way to get their content in front of Twitter users who do not follow them.
As a result, the tweets were pushed out to a large number of Twitter users, whether they followed the impersonating account or not.
It isn't known how many users saw the tweets before the account was suspended -- an automated process which occurs when several users report an account for spam or abuse within a short space of time.
Internet trolls spreading offensive views is nothing new on Twitter nor is impersonating well-known activists to publish messages.
The tweets caused outrage among users but disappeared from timelines when the account was reported and suspended. The real Caitlin Roper told her 3,000 followers: "Hi friends, someone has created a Twitter account impersonating me and tweeting hateful comments. Account suspended, thanks for your help x"
A Twitter spokesperson told IBTimes UK: ""Twitter does not allow the promotion of hate content, including hate speech against a group based on sexual orientation or gender identity.As soon as we were made aware we removed the ad and suspended the account."
'We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls'
The episode is an embarrassment for Twitter, which in April announced a crackdown on abuse, revealing a new filter system designed to automatically prevent users from seeing threatening messages. The company also banned users from making indirect threats of violence, where previously only a direct threat would cause action to be taken against the sender. The changes came after a leaked internal memo from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said: "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, and we've sucked at it for years."
In February, Costolo said he was ashamed at how his company was failing to deal with abuse between users. "I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue..it's absurd. There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing."