It's not always clear why or how a person was chosen for impersonation, or for what purpose the knockoff was made. For a lot of reasons, as it turns out. Donovan and others be real Americans who just happened to notice DCLeaks the same day? Zach Elwood, a technical writer in Portland, Oregon, who sleuths out Facebook fakes in his spare time, keeps a long spreadsheet of names and alerts users when he finds they've been impersonated.
The Times contacted several such users, who insisted that they had come by their anti-American, pro-Russian views honestly, without payment or instructions from Moscow.