There is a lot of new interest in the Duggar family following the news that Josh Duggar was investigated for sexually assaulting five young girls. The Duggars’ social media accounts have seen a new influx of attention. On their Instagram accounts and Facebook pages, the viewing audiences are having raging debates over whether Josh should be forgiven, whether the Duggars are members of a cult, how responsible Jim Bob and Michelle are, and whether the show should go on.
On Twitter accounts bearing names of Duggar family members, there are suddenly thousands of new followers — especially on the girls’ accounts. These likely include fans who fear they’ll lose their connection to the Duggar family through their television sets and are seeking another, folks who wonder if the girls will speak out about being attacked, and people with numerous other reasons. Either way, since most of the Duggars have maintained a static silence since their official statement, it’s making certain Duggar accounts that are still talking — and talking about Josh — quite popular.
However, you should know the Duggars you’re following are likely fake.
First, what accounts can we verify are real? This is a bit tricky, since none of the family members have Twitter Verified accounts — but here’s what we do know.
Josh’s Twitter account is real. It’s at @joshduggar and is filled with things relating to his (former) job, his family, 19 Kids And Counting, and selfies with politicians. It also links frequently to his Instagram account.
Then there’s Anna. Okay, she’s not one of the Duggar kids, but she is a member of the family — and between Josh’s mentions of her, and the amount of original content she posts (one key hint for fake accounts is that photos they post are stolen from other accounts and sites), we can confidently state that her account, too, is real. Twitter here, Instagram here.
Jill and Jessa — these two are pretty popular on social media. Their accounts have been linked from the official family account, include lots of selfies, and lots of clips and photos of their family that are clearly original content, not nabbed from TLC websites or other accounts. Jill’s Instagram, Twitter. Jessa’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Jill and Jessa’s husbands also have social media accounts. Derick Dillard’s Twitter, Instagram. Ben Seewald’s Twitter, Instagram. These can be verified in the same way: the wives and the official Duggar family account mention them, and both accounts offer family photos and videos that aren’t pre-posted elsewhere.
Aside from being mentioned by the official family account and mentioning each other, and original content, these accounts all have one other thing in common: aside from Josh’s link to the official statements from the family, they’ve all remained silent since the news broke.
There are also numerous accounts accounts belonging to extended family. Cousin Amy Duggar has Twitter and Instagram, and Anna’s sister Priscilla shares a Twitter with her own husband, David. There are far too many extended family members to delve into, though — for those, we’ll just say, be wary.
However, there are also numerous other accounts bearing the names of other Duggar siblings — and none of the rest appear to be real.
Jessa has actually verified that some are fake. When asked about one account purporting to be Joy Anna Duggar, she affirmed that Joy is not on Twitter by any name.
— Deana Williams (@omgitsdeana) March 26, 2015
@omgitsdeana 👎 It’s fake. Joy is not on Twitter.
— Jessa Seewald (@JessaSeewald) March 26, 2015
Several accounts have become very popular among defenders of the Duggars, because they’re full of tear-jerking pleas for fans to show their love and forgiveness.
Send us a video of your opinion on how special Josh is to you!!! To make him feel better
— Jinger Duggar (@JingerDuggar22) May 23, 2015
THIS HAS GONE FAR ENOUGH EVEN JOHANNAH IS INVOLVED STOP THIS SHE’S IN TEARS BECAUSE SHE BELIEVES THE WORLD HATES HER INCLUDING GOD……….
— Jinger Duggar (@JingerDuggar22) May 24, 2015
Josh has changed the world with his kindness and respect for God…..
— Joy-Anna Duggar (@joyannaduggar91) May 23, 2015
Now please stop the hate Jackson and I are really crying because no one likes our family anymore 😢😢😢
— Johannah Duggar (@JohannahDuggar) May 23, 2015
However, this only makes these accounts more suspicious — not less. Is it likely that, when the most active family accounts go completely silent, the younger kids are suddenly allowed to tweet endlessly about the situation? Don’t forget that this is already a family that is very strict about internet access.
You can also see that these accounts only use photos available elsewhere on the internet.
Happy birthday to my best friend Jackson Levi!!!! pic.twitter.com/CwY0Xklxhl
— Johannah Duggar (@JohannahDuggar) May 23, 2015
It seems likely that the real Johanna Duggar would have access to a copy of that photo without a copyright notice — and wouldn’t have had to steal it from the family’s website.
Another hint comes from checking who the verifiable family members are following themselves — if one of the younger Duggar siblings had a Twitter account, you can bet Jessa and Jill would be following it!
There are dozens of similar accounts — several of which were all started at about the same time, and are all connected to one other Twitter user (who won’t be named here, especially since her tweets say she’s only middle-school aged) who appears to be a pretty big Duggar fan. It’s impossible to confirm that one user is handling multiple fake Duggar accounts — but when they all share the same content, and make the same spelling and grammatical errors, it’s not impossible to consider it a reasonable conclusion.
In short, if you’re trying to keep up with the Duggar family — that is, trying to keep up with the news about them — your best bet is to stick with the official family account, and the few accounts that are clearly who they claim to be: Josh, Anna, Jessa, Jill, Derick, Ben, and Josiah. Of course, there’s not much to follow, with those accounts so silent, and with no show to promote, they may remain that way — but silence from official accounts carries more meaning than all the talk in the world from fake ones.
[Image via TLC screengrab]