No bot network in UK to manipulate COVID-19 discussions: Twitter

London: Twitter has denied there is a large-scale bot or fake account network that is manipulating the conversations around the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK.

Reacting the reports that a network of fake Twitter accounts is allegedly being run by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to change the discourse on coronavirus, Twitter said on Wednesday that its specialist teams currently do not see evidence of large-scale coordinated platform manipulation surrounding the Covid-19 conversation, “including suggested coordination associated with the UK government”.

A Guardian report said that unverified claims that the DHSC “had been running fake social accounts were widely shared by journalists, politicians, and leading public figures in the last two days”.

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One tweet making these claims was retweeted over 20,000 times.

The allegations were first made by John O’Connell, a writer for the website Far Right Watch, claiming he identified 128 such Twitter accounts.

Twitter said: “As is standard, we will remove any pockets of smaller coordinated attempts to distort or inorganically influence the conversation”.

The micro-blogging platform said it is continuing to review and require the removal of tweets that do not follow the Twitter rules.

The DHSC also went on Twitter to deny such claims.

“These claims are categorically false. To share disinformation of this kind undermines the national effort against coronavirus. Before anyone shares unsubstantiated claims online, use the SHARE checklist to help stop the spread of harmful content,” said the DHSC.

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