This has just been happening on Twitter (as it has for years):
En masse spelling mistakes aside, this is insidious and horrible. Public opinion is being swayed by simulated/dishonest/untrue creations.
This is disinformation.
Quite how the government can, on the one hand, rightly spout off about disinformation concerning Covid, and on the other, insidiously spread disinformation in a different context for their own gain, I don’t know. Actually, I do know: politics and power.
There have been many articles written on this over the years since 2016, when it was used on a big scale to influence the US presidential election. For example:
- Even a few bots can shift public opinion in big ways
For an incredible analysis on this, I really, really do advise you read this Twitter thread, which goes on to find a connection between Johnson, Brexit, MAGA and Islamaphobia via bots:
[Thread] I analysed around 13,000 retweets of Boris Johnson's tweet that read "The referendum result must be respected. We will leave the EU on 31st October. #LeaveOct31". He tweeted this twice, once on 15th Aug and again on 27th. The following is what I found: #StopTheCoup
— Marc Owen Jones (@marcowenjones) August 29, 2019
Click on that and go and find out what he found out. Fascinating.
Then check out his part two, again looking at the MAGA connection:
[Thread] Evening to those following #BrexitShambles. In part 2 of my @BorisJohnson Tweet Analysis (I absolutely refuse to use the term 'deep dive'), I have analysed approximately 900,000 of Bojo's Twitter followers. Why you ask? Well who knows what you may find… #HouseOfCommons
— Marc Owen Jones (@marcowenjones) September 3, 2019
In an era of manipulation of our volitions with those harnessing Big Data, we need to be extra vigilant. Thanks to those who crunch the data on behalf of Joe Bloggs.
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