Twitter Bot Accounts Leading Charge to ‘Reopen America’

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, more and more people are anxiously waiting for life to get back to normal. That has led to some campaigns and protests on social media urging leaders to “reopen America.”

However, a recent study shows people may be more comfortable staying inside than it may seem.

According to a recent report, 62 percent of the 1,000 most influential retweeters on Twitter appear to be bot accounts. The study notes that 66 percent of the tweets referencing “reopening America” had come from accounts that used bots to spread their tweets. Out of the messages, 34 percent were directly from bot accounts.

“We’re seeing up to two times as much bot activity as we’d predicted based on previous natural disasters, crises and elections,” said Kathleen Carley, professor at the School of Computer Science’s Institute for Software Research and director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems. She added that the increase of bot activity could be down to people having more time on their hands, but there’s plenty of other potential reasons, too. “Because it’s global, it’s being used by various countries and interest groups as an opportunity to meet political agendas.”

The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).

The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.

While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 99,400 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.

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