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Twitter Users Make a Surprising Discovery About These Pro-Lockdown, Pro-Mask Doctors on the Site

AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

How many identity boxes and sob stories can you post before people begin to ask questions? Apparently, there is a limit, which is what gave away the game to one self-described "gay writer" who discovered several fake Twitter accounts focused on COVID. 

Of course, Twitter bots are nothing new and not surprising, but these accounts are raising suspicions as the world (in most places) has finally resumed a sense of normalcy in the age of COVID. 

As The San Francisco Standard details, the fake accounts shared similarities – all were tied to the gay community, pushed masks and other health restrictions, and criticized those who downplayed COVID. 

Last month, Dr. Robert Honeyman lost their sister to Covid. They wrote about it on Twitter and received dozens of condolences, over 4,000 retweets and 43,000 likes.

Exactly one month later, on Dec. 12, Honeyman wrote that another tragedy had befallen their family.

“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,” they tweeted. “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.”

Again, the condolences and well-wishes rolled in. But there was a problem: Honeyman wasn’t real. 

The transgender “Doctor of Sociology and Feminist studies” with a “keen interest in poetry” who used they/them pronouns was, in fact, a stock photo described on DepositPhotos, a royalty-free image site, as “Smiling happy, handsome latino man outside—headshot portrait.”

Their supposedly comatose husband, Dr. Patrick C. Honeyman, was also fake. His Twitter photo had been stolen from an insurance professional in Wayne, Indiana. […]

The Honeymans could not be reached for comment, as they do not exist. At publication time, Robert Honeyman’s account was no longer active. 

The fake doctors were uncovered by Joshua Gutterman Tranen, a self-described “gay writer” pursuing a master’s of fine arts at Bennington College. He saw Robert Honeyman’s tweet about their husband being in a coma, noticed people he followed also followed them, and thought that they might be part of the LGBTQ+ academic community.

But after 10 minutes of googling, Gutterman Tranen concluded that Robert Honeyman’s photo was a stock image and their biography stretched boundaries of believability: an academic who left no traces on academic websites and had lost two family members to Covid in late 2022, despite masking and distancing.

The character looked like “liberal Mad Libs,” Gutterman Tranen said. 

“I’m a self-identified leftist, and I understand that people have a lot of different identities, but it felt concocted in the lab about how many identities and horrible experiences can we put on one person,” he said. (SF Standard)

Putting aside the fact that The San Francisco Standard still respected the fake person's preferred pronouns, one wonders what the point of the accounts was. Three of them were created during the pandemic, and they often engaged with one another. The tweets clearly catered to the "liberal, pro-diversity and concerned about Covid" Twitter user while causing pushback from more conservative ones. 

Neither The San Francisco Standard nor Gutterman Tranen could come up with an answer beyond speculation for why they were created.

"Is this someone who is well-intentioned but perhaps has a lot of anxiety about Covid, and this is a way for them to act out those anxieties?" Gutterman Trane wondered, according to The SF Standard. "Or is this something more nefarious where someone thinks creating accounts like this is a way to point at them and say: 'Look how crazy the liberals are'?"

Twitter users had some other guesses. 

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