A SCOTS MP has told how he faced “vile” abuse online after suggesting that the British Army’s cyberwarriors were attacking and undermining people in Scotland.

Comments started to pour in after Dunfermline and West Fife SNP member Douglas Chapman responded to a tweet from a Labour activist who said he had uncovered fake Twitter accounts all supporting Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Tory party.

Under the hashtag #BorisBotArmy, Chris Furlong wrote: “The latest @BorisJohnson tweet got thousands of retweets & likes within an hour. However, when you check the accounts retweeting/liking it, many have no or very few followers, never tweeted themselves, brand new accounts. Who is paying for the many thousands in The Boris Bot Army?”

Chapman responded: “There’s 77th Brigade and @InitIntegrity operatives for starters. In Scotland they are already highly organised and attacking and undermining our democratic choices. All paid for by the British State and the UK tax-payer.”

The MP was referring to the Integrity Initiative, which claims to be a European collective that acts to counter disinformation and malign influence, and the Army’s 77th Brigade, which describes it purpose on its website: “Our aim is to challenge the difficulties of modern warfare using non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as a means to adapt behaviours of the opposing forces and adversaries.”

Among the brigade’s various sections is the Information Activities (IA) Group, which “provides planning support focusing on the behavioural analysis of actors, audiences and adversaries”.

Chapman’s intervention was taken up by the UK Defence Journal, which said: “Essentially, it is being claimed that the British Army are engaged in operations online against British citizens, there has however been no proof offered that this is actually happening.”

When responses to his tweet became more abusive, Chapman removed it.

Last night, he told The National: “Everybody is entitled to a point of view and to express it, but some of the comments I received were quite vile and added nothing to the debate, so I removed the tweet.”

He said bots – essentially programs that operate almost autonomously to influence opinions on social media – had been used to spread misinformation from Russia, and added: “Any organisation using such tactics really needs to be called out.”

Furlong yesterday listed dozens of Twitter accounts, which he claimed were part of Boris’s Bot Army.

He wrote: “An absolute diamond … Meet the account Nicholas Cullen which opened in May 2011. There has been no activity at all on the account. No tweets, no retweets, no likes, no media absolutely nothing. Then likes @BorisJohnson tweet on 16th August, then nothing.

“This is the account Gavin Franklin, apparently from Lincolnshire. In the eight years it has been active it tweeted five times, the last time over four years ago, and every single one of them is a link to different Turkish website. It has liked 4 @BorisJohnson tweets in three days.

“The kyle ohnnoi account with no followers, following no one and his @BorisJohnson retweet and likes. The Ed Ted account with just one reply to its name and zero Tweets. And 26 @BorisJohnson Number 10 @Conservatives Likes in the last week. #BorisBotArmy.”

Chapman said he had personal experience of misinformation tactics, and added: “I have felt a lot more unease over bots targeting independence supporters.

“But some people are surprisingly naïve in their attitudes … especially with Twitter users who are obviously fake.”

An Army spokesperson said: “77 Brigade do not conduct UK operations.”