Great Britain

Automated bots are peddling dangerous lies about coronavirus on social media

COVID BOTS

DANGEROUS lies about Covid are being peddled by automated bot accounts, a report reveals.

Social media sites have become the target of extremist groups out to spread misinformation and fear.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Researchers tracked the authors of all tweets about the anti-mask movement posted last month. Of 36,974 posts, 2,588 came from bot accounts.

Seven in ten accounts were pushing either hard left or extreme right-wing content, the probe by Mainstream UK found.

Chairman Ian Austin said: “Fake accounts promoting fake news about Covid-19 represent a real danger to public health.

“They are spreading the bogus claims of the cranks who want us to believe Covid is not a real danger and we should ‘take a stand’ by not wearing masks.”

The researchers found that while 40 per cent of bots were active for less than six months, they still generated high levels of content. A quarter made more than 50,000 posts, some as many as 300,000.

Lord Austin wants the Government to use its Online Harms Bill to ensure tech giants target those who fuel hatred.

At the end of last month more than 10,000 anti-mask demonstrators gathered in Hyde Park. London, to brand Covid a hoax.

They heard speeches from conspiracy theorists David Icke and Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy.

Previous research has suggested bots account for between five and 15 per cent of all activity on Twitter. The company disputes these claims and says it has got better at identifying and removing automated accounts.

Anti-mask mob clash with cops as they flood Trafalgar Square to demonstrate against coronavirus vaccine and UK lockdown

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL [email protected]

Football news:

Hans-Dieter flick: I Hope Alaba will sign a contract with Bayern. Our club is one of the best in the world
Diego Maradona: Messi gave Barca everything, brought them to the top. He was not treated the way he deserved
Federico Chiesa: I hope to leave my mark in Juve. We will achieve great results
The Coach Of Benfica: I don't want us to look like the current Barcelona, it has nothing
Guardiola on returning to Barca: I'm happy at Manchester City. I hope to stay here
Fabinho will not play with West ham due to injury
Ronald Koeman: Maradona was the best in his time. Now the best Messi