Fake Twitter accounts are allegedly posting pro-Corbyn election messages
Automated accounts known as web robots or “bots” are said to post one in eight messages about British politics on Twitter.
But individual accounts appearing to look like real people now post up to 1,000 messages per day attacking Theresa May or promoting Labour, the Telegraph reports.
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These sock-puppet accounts are set up to amplify a specific political stance
Ben Nimmo, a social media networks analyst
A series of accounts were found to be retweeting and “liking” tweets by Mr Corbyn, his shadow cabinet and supporters countless times in an hour, the newspaper revealed.
One account identified by the Telegraph named "Jimmy Morgan" – using the handle @Jimmymo82550950 – has retweeted more than 5,000 posts and liked more than 4,000, and dozens by Mr Corbyn's official account in the nine days after it was set up last month.
Ben Nimmo, an analyst of disinformation and social media networks told the newspaper: “They all look like classic sock-puppet accounts, set up to amplify a specific political stance.
“The ratio of retweets to original posts is very high, they’re effectively anonymous, the eight-digit numbers after each username are characteristics of fake accounts, and they were all created very recently.”
Oxford University researchers described the situation as “worrying”, because of their power to “distort” and influence views.
Separate analysis from the university which examined 1.3 million tweets, found 21,661 Labour-supporting tweets published from automated accounts over the course of a week earlier in the election campaign.
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Monica Kaminska, co-author of the Oxford University study, said: “It is worrying because it has the potential to distort the conversation, it’s megaphoning marginal viewpoints, and because young people are turning towards social media as their primary news source.”
A Labour spokesman denied any association with the accounts.
One fake account retweeted dozens of Jeremy Corbyn's tweets
Fake accounts allegedly posted thousands of anti-May election messages
He said: “Those accounts are absolutely, categorically nothing to do with us. We don’t have any accounts like that and we don’t run anything like that.”
Twitter has reportedly responded to previous complaints about bots by saying it takes the matter seriously and has a dedicated team which looks for automated accounts.
Express.co.uk has contacted Twitter for comment.