10/22/2013 10:58 EDT

Harper 'Tweet' About First Nations Just A Hoax, Spokesperson Confirms


The office of Prime Minister Stephen Harper says it is again the victim of an online hoax.

A screengrab of what looks like a tweet from Harper's official account apparently began making the rounds on Sunday evening.

The tweet says Canada "will crush these demonstrations by all means under Crown Law." It likely refers to the violent anti-fracking protests in New Brunswick last week that resulted in 40 arrests after police vehicles were torched and, according to the RCMP, Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers.

Savvy Twitter users probably recognized something was amiss with the "tweet" right away. It contains 214 characters, 74 more than the allowed 140 characters. There's also a glaring spelling error; the message says First Nations must "choose to be loyal Canadian's or face the full force of the Crowns Authority."

Daniel Proussalidis of QMI Agency contacted Harper spokesperson Jason MacDonald after the news organization was emailed the screen capture with a claim that the tweet was quickly deleted from the PM's account.

"This is a hoax," MacDonald said. "It's unfortunate that someone would choose to attempt to inflame the situation in this manner."

There are a number of different online tools to create fake tweets. The website, lemmetweetthatforyou.com, is particularly popular.

Back in 2011, pranksters hacked into the Conservative Party's website and posted a message that Harper was rushed to hospital after "an incident at breakfast."

A phony news release on the site said Harper choked on hash browns while eating breakfast with his kids, "blocking air from reaching his lungs."

Of course, none of that happened.

Harper has taken to Twitter more and more in the last few years in an effort to beef up his social media presence. This summer, Harper used Twitter to release details of his cabinet shuffle.

His account did make a big mistake, though, when it tweeted an incorrect handle for Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.

As you can see in the gallery below, someone pounced on the mistake by quickly grabbing the handle and using it to criticize the government's First Nations policies.

Photo gallery Twitter Mocks @PMHarper's Mistake See Gallery