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Home / News / Bots are stoking racism in the tense Virginia governor’s race — and have reached hundreds of thousands of people

Bots are stoking racism in the tense Virginia governor’s race — and have reached hundreds of thousands of people

The Latino Victory Fund might have withdrawn their ad portraying supporters of Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie chasing immigrant children in a truck with a Confederate flag, but it hasn’t stopped bots from capitalizing on the racism the ad — and the Republican candidate’s race against Democratic Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam — has fueled.

According to analysis by Politico, 13 of the 15 Twitter accounts that post most frequently using the words “Latino Victory Fund” are either “fully or partially automated bots.” The other two are GOP operatives.

“Highly scripted, highly robotic accounts are being used to boost this message into the Twitter conversation,” Tim Chambers, the author of a report analyzing the VA governor’s race bot activity for Dewey Square Group, a firm hired by a group that endorsed Northam.

The 15 accounts tweeting most frequently about the controversial ad may have reached up to 651,000, the report states.

Chambers also said that in recent days, over 400 “suspicious” accounts tweeting in Turkish and other Eastern European languages have followed Northam.

The Latino Victory Fund ad came after an ad from a controversial attack ad from Gillespie’s campaign that attempted to tie Northam to the El Salvadoran gang MS-13 due to his supposedly lax stance on “sanctuary cities.”

You can watch both ads below.

Gillespie’s MS-13 ad:

LVF’s pro-Northam “racist Gillespie supporter” ad:

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