Bots? ‘Thousands’ of newly-created generic Twitter accounts defend ‘right-wing coup’ in Bolivia
Evo Morales’ resignation has apparently sparked an information battle on social media, with one journalist alleging that countless Twitter bots are spreading right-wing talking points about Bolivia’s recent political upheaval.
“There are thousands of what are obviously bot accounts trolling anyone who tweets about the right-wing coup in Bolivia… There’s a big operation going on here,” tweeted Ben Norton, a journalist and assistant editor of the Grayzone Project. He noted that the accounts have formulaic handles consisting of a common name followed by a series of numbers. Screenshots show anti-Morales messages being posted by new accounts with only a handful of tweets.
There are thousands of what are obviously bot accounts trolling anyone who tweets about the right-wing coup in BoliviaThey are spreading propaganda in English, their account names are often @ namenumbers, and they were created in NovemberThere's a big operation going on here pic.twitter.com/GLJ8Sw14pM— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 11, 2019
Incredibly, his observation was bombarded by denials… from generic Twitter accounts created in November.
Tfw you tweet about the right-wing Bolivia coup bots... and some of those same bots whose fake accounts were literally *created yesterday* reply and claim they aren't bots pic.twitter.com/lQ9o3vtQCq— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 11, 2019
One user flagged by Norton had only four tweets – all of them attacking the journalist for sounding the alarm over the suspicious Twitter activity. The account was only three hours old.
Hahaha yet another Bolivia coup bot account which only has 4 tweets, all attacking me.It was created 3 hours ago, and it follows 1 person: far-right Bolivian coup leader Camacho.This pro-coup bot disinformation campaign is so obvious. pic.twitter.com/Vd9n2Z0PG6— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) November 11, 2019
Morales announced his resignation on Sunday, following protests and violence in the capital, La Paz. The Bolivian leader had called for new elections in hopes of appeasing protesters, but he stepped down hours later after being urged to do so by the country’s military chief. The political turmoil has been labeled as a military coup by Morales’ supporters, including UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
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