Social Media Accounts Posing as US Military Express Vaccine Distrust

Anonymous accounts posing as military personnel have sprung up on various social media platforms, expressing distrust and outrage about the mandate for vaccines among service members.

According to Military Times, the increase in these anonymous accounts came after the Department of Defense (DoD) and President Joe Biden have expressed interest in making the vaccine mandatory for active service members.

Last week, the Pentagon issued a statement saying that it will make vaccination mandatory for all US military. The mandate came following an “alarming surge” in infections with the Delta variant and will be effective by mid-September. 

‘Troll’ Accounts vs. Vaccine?

Among the many anonymous — or “dummy” — accounts on social media is the Twitter username “Terminalcwo.”

This particular user is promoting the idea that the vaccine kills children, not the virus. Military Times was able to talk to a certain “Danny,” who is allegedly one of the managers behind the account. “Danny” said that the goal of the account was just to “troll.”

“It was 100 percent a troll,” Danny told the outlet. “They were frothing at the bait. They were just going off on our account, I mean, just the nastiest things you could say.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 vaccines have been found safe and effective for children of at least 12 years of age. There is also no concrete data showing that the vaccines have the potential to kill people from any age group.

Creating ‘Distrust’

In an interview with the same publication, Col. Andy Zacherl, former SOCOM psychological operations branch chief, said that the real threat that these troll accounts bring is “creating distrust between leadership and their personnel.”

Since moderators and account owners cannot easily be identified as actual military, disciplinary action for active-duty soldiers would prove difficult.

“That’s the beauty and the issue with social media in many respects,” Zacherl said. “It’s difficult to attribute.”

He also added that the effects these troll accounts have are far beyond the military, as anyone who supports these arguments and beliefs is very likely to fall for these erroneous claims and misinformation.

“One of the interesting things about social media is that you’re fairly unaccountable for what you say,” he added. “You can make bold statements that you won’t actually be held to. It’s one of the reasons that social media environments are, for lack of a better term, so toxic.”

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