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Facebook ant colony roleplaying group grows to 1.8M members amid pandemic

May 12 (UPI) -- A Facebook group in which users pretend to be an ant colony has grown to more than 1.8 million members since social distancing procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 were implemented in the United States.

The group -- titled "A group where we all pretend to be ants in an ant colony" -- has grown from 100,000 members at the beginning of March to more than 1.8 million, its creator, Tyrese Childs, told NBC News.

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Members of the group role play as members of an ant colony, posting pictures of ants participating in various activities including crawling on food and carrying leaves.

They then type actions such as "DIG," "LIFT" and "BITE" as they act out tasks in service of the colony's queen.

The group is private, requiring an approval period before prospective members can join and post. It asks those interested in joining a series of questions including whether they have watched the Pixar film A Bug's Life.

"We have so many user requests and pending posts that it has become a job for me," said Childs, a college student from North Dakota. "I think people are searching for something to do right now. You can scroll so much on social media."

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It also has a list of rules that guide the role-playing experience and bar any discussion of "human politics" in addition to hate speech and sexually explicit, gross or violent content.

"We have filtered out all the COVID-19 posts so it's like an escape," Childs said.

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