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Tuesday 21 April 2020

NHS Fake Twitter Accounts EXPOSED

Last weekend, John O’Connell of Far Right Watch noticed something odd about a number of Twitter accounts. 128 Twitter accounts, in fact, all apparently singing from the same hymn sheet. All backing the Government, and especially alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson. And all, it seems, pushing for the now-discredited “herd immunity” idea to return. One sample from his trawl was typical.
Someone calling themselves NHS Susan. A deaf junior doctor, “transitioning in 2020, fighting COVID on behalf of all LGBTQ and non-binary people”. With the #FBPE hashtag thrown in for good measure. But @nhs_susan is no more; the account has gone.
O’Connell asked West Herts NHS “Can you confirm that ‘[NHS Susan]’ here is a creation of the DHSC Communications Team, and not in fact, one of your hardworking staff at the Starfish Ward? Can you ask your staff member what she thinks of her image being used for automated #Tories Propaganda?” And he had more on the same subject.
Regarding those 128 fake #NHS Staff accounts posting for 'Herd Mentality' and support of the Govt that were set up by [The DHSC] or their marketing agency … Posts were sent using Hootsuite, a mass-posting tool. Account registered to 1 person with 4 assigned contributors … The one person has been identified … Despite the [DHSC] reply to my queries of 'no comment' (and that's all she wrote), that person is a contracted Government employee temporarily assigned to this department”. And more.
The accounts originally pushed for the 'herd immunity'. In later days they changed tack and were were pushing for the country to 'open up again’. Not too much of a stretch that the operation was to test the waters for a change in policy. Just a theory … DHSC were fairly offered an opportunity by me, via email and telecon, to address these issues. A chance to 'get ahead' of the story. I was duty bound to offer that to them. It was dismissed out of hand”. Another Tweeter tried to alert several media players to the deception.
No doubt [BBCPolitics], [Laura Kuenssberg], [Robert Peston], [Peter Jukes], [Skwawkbox], [Novara Media], [Zelo Street], [Carole Cadwalladr] will be all over this like a rash. An actual Government department setting up fake Social media accounts? Knock me down with a feather”. Well, some of those named are all over it.
But at about the same time came the horrendous blunder. When what looks like a dirty tricks operation is about to be rumbled, what is the sensible thing to do? Keep schtum. So what did the DHSC Twitter feed do? Don’t ask. Peter Jukes of Byline Media got the answer, but maybe not in the way he might have expected.
After he Tweeted “This looks like further abuse and a breach of every civil service rule. A series of sock puppet accounts posing as NHS staff. And it’s being done by [the DHSC] apparently. Russian Troll Farm/Cambridge Analytica style dirty tricks, paid for by our money, on us, during a Pandemic”, the DHSC took the bait.
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” they told. But they did not engage with O’Connell. Instead, they engaged with 49 other people.
One enterprising Tweeter mused “It's mad, ~50 identical rebuttals sent out over 15 mins just after 10PM to people sharing that evidence thread about fake NHS accounts”. And just for good measure, included a video showing all the identical rebuttals (see HERE). One of the replies managed to tag Health Secretary Matt Hancock (don’t ask).
Stan Collymore took one look at the mess and concluded “A government department spending the evening tweeting directly to 50+ journalists and commentators, acting like a North Korean censor while categorically not answering what seem to be legitimate questions from several journalists. What next? Bot attacks? Veiled threats?
This looks bad. Because it is bad. The problem we have is that those named as being potentially all over the story, and who have the biggest megaphones, will not be all over it, perhaps because they fear retribution from chief Downing Street polecat Dominic Cummings if the story happens to be true. Which it appears to be.

Time for someone to ‘fess up and come clean. Because there will be more later.
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Arnold said...

"The accounts originally pushed for the 'herd immunity'. In later days they changed tack and were were pushing for the country to 'open up again’"
No change of tack. Open up and you risk infection rates and deaths increasing. Herd immunity in other words.

Simon Gilman said...

So Hootsuite continuing to be used - and today, Tuesday, hundreds of shock tweets calling O'Connell a crank (ie Corbynista, ie a rabid AS-ite) so that perfectly sane ordinary concerned Tweeters are frightened into deleting RTs.

loffy jober said...

There are so many websites which use to generate fake tweet. There online tool is easy to use