19 February) Newcastle bridges consultation hijacked by ‘fake accounts’ – BBC News
Automated computer accounts have been found to have generated thousands of comments in a bid to hijack a consultation on bridge closures.
A six-month public feedback exercise on Newcastle City Council’s decision to ban traffic from five small bridges in residential areas closed on Monday.
More than 7,000 responses opposing the closures were linked to one computer server.
The council said it was a “malicious attempt” to disrupt the consultation.
Salters Bridge, Castle Farm Road bridge, Haldane Bridge, Argyle Street bridge and Stoneyhurst Bridge have been closed to vehicles since August as the council said it wanted to stop high levels of traffic cutting through residential streets.
Opponents claim it has caused congestion on surrounding roads, blocked routes for emergency vehicles and been harmful for elderly and disabled residents who rely on car travel.