ARLINGTON, Va. – Nothing spoils a special moment like a prankster. When that moment is the first Medal of Honor presentation to a living, active-duty servicemember in 40 years, people can get a bit touchy.
On Tuesday, as Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta was fêted in an emotional ceremony at the White House, his inner thoughts appeared in real time on his Twitter account to the delight of Twitter users. But it was all a fake.
“Thank you all so much for your kind words and support. Received the Medal of Honor from President Obama today.. it still feels like a dream,” he wrote, allegedly.
A tweet posted Oct. 3 read: “Everything still feels so surreal.”
Laudatory tweets directed at the account ‘@salvatoregiunta’ poured in all day. “Never thought I'd live to see the day a MOH recipient Tweets out his ceremony. God bless him,” wrote Stan Gill.
Around 5:00 p.m., the U.S. Army’s official Twitter account posted a message confirming the soldier’s account was not real. The news quickly went viral.
“Dear Lord, is nothing sacred?” wrote the user CunningPike.
The fake account perpetrator has deleted all the previously posted messages and changed the user bio to read: “The FIRST and BEST tribute page to U.S. Army Staff Sargeant Salvatore Giunta, one of the most noble and decorated soldiers in US Armed forces history,” and leaving a single tweet honoring Veterans Day.
Fake Twitter accounts for celebrities are so common that Twitter began tagging real accounts as “Verfied.” Many fake ones are done as a tribute, or obvious tongue-in-cheek humor. On Twitter, there is a fake Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, fake Beatle Paul McCartney, and journalists love the FakeAPStylebook.
Tribute or not, some people were livid.
Chris Levings, using the handle '@BigCountryMP', wrote: “@salvatoregiunta your (sic) still a fake. Different face same loser.”
Marla Honer, wrote: “So wrong = STOLEN VALOR!”
As of this posting, some were still praising the soldier by linking to the fake account.