Pro-Lockdown Bot Army Descends On Social Media

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A pro-lockdown bot army has taken over social media after leaders around the world began to lift coronavirus restrictions.

The Twitter posts repeat the same exact comment on several different accounts with specific stories about people contracting the coronavirus and calling for extended lockdowns.

“My brother has just tested positive for covid. The delta variant,” one phrase says. “He has been double jabbed. How on earth can Johnson go ahead with relaxing the rules on the 19th July. It’s madness.” (RELATED: Beijing-Controlled News Outlet Paid US Newspapers Millions To Publish Propaganda This Year)



The accounts that posted the phrase all tagged British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who announced a reopening plan Monday afternoon. Johnson vowed to end mask mandates and no longer enforce social distancing guidelines.

Another group of bots advocated for lockdowns until at least Christmas time. The tweets were either taken down by Twitter or removed by the users after several people pointed it out. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment asking if they removed the tweets, but Twitter does have an anti-spam policy that prevents accounts from attempting to “artificially amplify or suppress information.”

It’s unclear who is behind the bot activity, but an analysis by ProPublica in March of 2020 found that China was behind a vast propaganda campaign aimed at taking over Twitter accounts and sharing posts intended to praise the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Twitter is banned in China, ProPublica pointed out, so the campaign was likely aimed at people who don’t live in China. The CCP changed its bot activity to focus on coronavirus after the pandemic began in an attempt to salvage the country’s reputation, according to ProPublica.