'I am human, I bleed red’: Twitter user hits back after UK govt accuses her of being 'Russian bot'
There is growing evidence that the British government is labelling real people as bots, based on their non-mainstream and inconvenient views.
The Guardian reports that Syrian Twitter user @Partisangirl has been accused of being a Russian bot that has spread disinformation on social media in response to the Skripal poisoning case.
In response, @Partisangirl revealed that she is a journalist and her real name is Maram Susli. She tweeted that she is in fact a living human being and not a bot – as claimed by UK government officials. She said: “I AM Human. I am not a machine! I bleed red. My name is Maram Susli and I am a journalist. This is how far the #FAKENEWS has come.”
According to the reports, new Whitehall analysis suggests that there has been a 4,000 percent increase in the spread of so-called propaganda from Russia-linked social media accounts which they say can be identified as automated bots.
The Guardian suggests that @Partisangirl was targeted by the British government because she reached 61 million users with 2,300 posts over a 12-day period. Much of what she tweeted is counter to the narrative generally put forward by the British government, which appears to be enough to make her a target in the current political climate.
It comes on the back of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s Mansion House speech earlier this year, where she warned the Kremlin: “I have a very simple message for Russia. We know what you are doing. And you will not succeed.” The evidence so far suggest May have been misled about how accurate her intelligence is.
Another account reportedly identified was @Ian56789, which sent 100 posts a day during a 12-day period from April 7, and reached 23 million users, before the account was suspended. However, Sky News appears to have contacted the once again human owner of that account. He also seems to fit the profile of being targeted for government accusations due to his non-mainstream views on major issues.
To kick off the interview, Sky reporters asked Ian – failing to providing a surname – straight out if he was a Russian bot. “That is a 100 percent total lie and fabrication from the UK government,” was the obvious answer from the very human-looking Ian.
“They are singling out or will attack anyone who calls out the UK government’s lies on what has been happening recently. They have attacked me specifically because my Twitter account has recently got quite a lot of traction,” he told Sky News on Friday.
I spent a significant amount of time with @AliBunkallSKY earlier today, setting up & agreeing some ground rules & conditions for this i/view.— Ian56 (@Ian56789) April 20, 2018
Length of i/view, Written statement, first question, Live on air (so no editing) etc.
Alistair was prepared to spend time & effort on it. pic.twitter.com/2BZVPUG5q3
Ian then went on to push his own viewpoint on the UK government, before moving on to the alleged Syrian chemical attack. “The government's lies are very transparent and easy to see – anybody who applies a smattering of critical thinking will immediately call out numerous lies and the government position just completely collapses,” he said.
“You had Major General Jonathan Shaw on [Sky News] recently and he started off with the question: what possible motive would [Syrian President Bashar] Assad have to carry out a chemical weapons attack when that was guaranteed to bring the wrath of the whole world upon him? He wouldn’t do it.”
Ian took to his blog to share the statement he issued to Sky, in which he speaks of the strikes against Syria. “The US, UK and French bombing of Syria carried out on the night of April 13/14, even though it was only a cosmetic PR stunt, with only very trivial damage being done, was still a War Crime,” he wrote.
His blog post goes on to mention someone else questioning the chain of events currently being pedaled by the UK and allies – award-winning journalist Robert Fisk.
This is not the first time Twitter users have been accused of being at the behest of the Kremlin to spread Russian propaganda. @didgery77332nd, also known as ‘Smoo’, was accused in November 2017 of being a "Russian troll" by crowdfunded journalism outlet Byline, which had concluded that it was a fair to say that Smoo was a “foreign-based troll pushing Russian messaging.”
Embarrassingly for Byline, it turned out that @didgery77332nd was in fact a security guard from Glasgow.
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