In December, Twitter user Joshua Gutterman Tranen discovered a web of at least four fake Twitter accounts, all with bios saying they were allies to the LGBTQ+ community, that was pushing maximum caution over Covid along with absolute adherence to authoritative Covid policies such as masking and social distancing.
The San Francisco Standard reports that Gutterman Tranen uncovered the hoax by first investigating the Twitter user, Dr. Robert Honeyman, whose pinned tweet from November 12, 2022, reads, "My sister has passed away from Covid. The last couple of days have been difficult I won’t be responsive on here for a while. When I’m back all Covid minimisers will be blocked straight away.. I’m out of patience."
Dr. Robert Honeyman's December 12, 2022 tweet reads, "Sad to announce that my husband has entered a coma after being in hospital with Covid. The doctor is unsure if he will come out.This year has been the toughest of my life losing my sister to this virus. This is the first time in my life I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel."
"If you could follow me on this platform I need as much people round me as possible right now. Feeling empty sadness," the account added.
Gutterman Tranen uncovered that Dr. Robert Honeyman's photo was from, "DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as 'Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait'," reports the San Francisco Standard.
Honeyman's bio reads, "They/Them, Trans ,Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies. Keen interest in poetry. Consultant for LGBTQ+ representation in TV & Movies.Always learning."
The consultation the account claimed they performed was on the new Scooby-Doo movie and that they lobbied to make Velma a lesbian. That information was fake as was the whole account, as Dr. Robert Honeyman has no verifiable biography past the Twitter account.
"Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana," reports the San Francisco Standard.
Two more accounts, Dr. Gerold Fischer and Dr. Steve "Ste" Ville, connected to the Honeyman's were also fake. All four accounts had bios that displayed the Ukrainian flags along with the Pride flags.
All four were critical of policies and positions that pushed back against the most stringent of Covid policies.
Dr. Robert Honeyman had even asked his followers to report other Twitter users for "attacks" about "my sisters post."
Until Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter, former head of Twitter Trust and Safety Yoel Roth enforced a Covid policy aligned with Honeyman's point of view.
Twitter's previous "approach to misleading information" read, "In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content. Starting today, we’re introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19."
"In March, we broadened our policy guidance to address content that goes directly against guidance on COVID-19 from authoritative sources of global and local public health information," the policy stated.
Roth's policy not only missed the fake accounts but was used by the fake accounts to report other Twitter users.
On Monday it was announced Jim Jordan will head a new select committee that will look into governmental abuse of power and investigates the correspondence between the Biden administration and big tech companies following the information on censorship that came out of the Twitter Files, including around Covid policy.
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