In one tweet, the @FtBraggNC account discussed the physical attributes of a woman who shares nude images on the subscription site OnlyFans. In another tweet, the account discussed sexual acts in detail.
Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Army Col. Scott Pence ordered an inquiry, which determined three people had access to the account, according to an official at Fort Bragg with knowledge of the matter. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the incident.
The inquiry concluded those three were not responsible, the official said, prompting the XVIII Airborne Corps to issue a statement Wednesday evening saying that the account was hacked and that officials had taken the account offline as an investigation continued.
But Thursday, a civilian employee revealed the tweets were his, according to the official, following the start of a formal investigation — saying the incident was not a hack after all. That employee mistakenly believed he was tweeting from his own personal account, the official said.
“Appropriate action is underway,” command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in a statement. “The Fort Bragg account will be restored in the coming days.”
The incident is another headache for the Army’s social media presence in 2020.
Earlier this year, the service esports team engulfed itself in potential free speech violations by banning critical commenters from its streaming channels. The team also produced a giveaway contest that amounted to a thinly veiled recruiting effort. Twitch, the popular streaming platform, demanded the Army remove the page after it appeared to violate terms of service.
The incident was also an uncomfortable moment of public scrutiny for Fort Bragg, which is one of 10 Army installations named after Confederate officers. Army officials expressed interest in renaming them amid a larger reckoning over race in the country following the death of George Floyd, but President Trump said he would override such a measure.
The woman at the center of the controversy, who identifies herself as Quinn Finite online, embraced the visibility the tweets earned her, including 1,300 new subscribers on OnlyFans and growing, she said. On Wednesday, following the uproar, she offered a 50 percent military discount.
But she expressed some concern about what could happen to the Army employee following the incident.
“It’s frustrating that casualties sometimes come from the common accident of realizing too late that you’re on your professional account,” she told The Washington Post. “I hope they take it easy on him.”
This story has been updated.