Seattle Seahawks busted using fake Twitter accounts

Seattle Seahawks busted using fake accounts to make #Seahawks trend on Twitter

11/7/13 in NFL   |   JoeKukura   |   492 respect

Blog Photo - Seattle Seahawks busted using Twitter fake accounts Just in time for today's massively successful Twitter stock IPO, we have a story reminding us that half of Twitter's revenue stream and user base are a complete fraud. The Seattle Seahawks -- or someone working for them, more likely -- have been caught red-handed using fake Twitter accounts in an attempt to make the hashtag #Seahawks appear to be trending harder on Twitter than it actually is. The sharp-eyed geeks over at Reddit have proven rather convincingly that a barrage of tweets mentioning #Seahawks comes from an army of fake Twitter accounts, known as spambots.

Spambots are fake accounts that look like real accounts, and are used to pump thousands of automated fake messages into the Twitterverse. If you hadn't considered it before, many of the women that you are attracted to on Twitter are actually spambots, not human beings.

A thread on Reddit Thursday makes the case that the Seahawks used Twitter bots to make the term #Seahawks trend on Twitter. It was obvious from dozens of identical tweets, pictured below, which repeated the exact phrase "Did anyone else see that amazing comback? #Seahawks". All of the tweets use the exact same wording, contain the exact same misspelling and were sent between the hours of 7 a.m. Wednesday and 12 Noon Thursday.

Between 10% and 40% of Twitter accounts that follow a corporate brand name are fake spambots, according to a 2012 study by the University of Milan.

Blog Photo - Seattle Seahawks busted using Twitter fake accounts I'm no tech dork, so I'll leave it to the Redditors to explain the scheme.We have some intelligent speculation from very articulate Redditor ConvictedSexOffender (who has a New York Jets logo as his avatar, BTW).

This is not proven, but here's what probably happened. "The Seahawks met with a company that told them we will guarantee you this many retweets, we will get we will get you trending at this rank etc.," the Redditor explains. "Or, they hired a couple of entry level recent grads for their social media marketing and they wanted to pad their numbers. How do they do it? Bots. Pretty standard stuff."

Can't you just tell that the bots are bots because they only tweet botty-sounding fake messages? Nope. The bots are also trained to repeat other peoples' real tweets, to make the accounts look real.

"They more than likely hired a team or someone who scraped content," another Redditor explains, and "used them as an algorithm to mass tweet to bypass some filters or to make them seem real. The typo was a huge mistake."

And another Redditor points out that most of the bot accounts' usernames are created using the same formula: First name, last name, followed by a random letter, all one word. (The bots have since changed their tactic and abandoned that formula, because Twitter has a bot-defense system that deletes the accounts of spambots. Many of these tweeters' accounts are now deleted).

The Seahawks' PR people may have found a way to make their team's name trend on Twitter temporarily, but now a mistake has exposed them. To paraphrase LL Cool J... Don't call it a comback.
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11/7/13   |   Jess   |   35129 respect

And everyone knows REAL Hawks tweeps use #GoHawks, rather. Duh.