Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fake Twitter Accounts for Black Ops: Does it still work?

It annoys me that I get an auto-reply from bots when I tweet something. It's okay if it's just neutral but there are times that companies resort to black ops against their competitors. That's the time I am annoyed. This is not the first instance I encountered this. It also happened when Smart launched Deezer early this year.

You're pretty sure that when someone offers something great and your competitors resort to black ops schemes, you are doing something that they are afraid of. Planting negative sentiments against your competitor will only look good on the reports you send your boss because all they will hear is, "Boss, negative sentiments of the competitor rose by 50% when they announced the new offer." What the boss doesn't know is those negative sentiments are planted and obviously fake to the public. Will it make a difference? They will only feel good about themselves but in reality, they are the ones fooling themselves.

Here are some examples of the spam and auto-reply accounts that I saw

Twitter Account Spam-ple #1:
Upon first glance you'll immediately see that this account has just a few followers. That's ok. That's not an indicator the account is used to spam. The clear indicator is when you look at the tweets, you'll see that the last tweet is almost 2 months ago. Another indicator that this is just a spam account is, the tweets prior are all praises about a certain telco. See for yourself if this Twitter account is real:

Twitter Account Spam-ple #2:
You'll see the same trend. The latest tweet is about bashing but the previous tweets are all praises. Why would anyone create a Twitter account just to praise a telco... every other day! That's a stupid reason to create a Twitter account for. Unless it's for spamming. Not even a single tweet about anything else. No one would believe your tweets. Go to this guys account and check out his tweets:

Twitter Account Spam-ple #3:
Same trend with the first one, the last tweets is almost 2 months ago. Latest tweet bashing a company and previous tweets praising a company for positive sentiments for analytics use. Either the company doing this is fooling their client OR the client approves of this. I am not sure which of that two applies to this. After looking at the first two accounts, this one will be Déjà vu:

Today, a new set of spam accounts was created. Why? If you see the accounts above, it already has a few but also fake followers to make it appear real. It also has a number of tweets as they try to make it look as natural as it can. But it's still obviously a fake account. The accounts they use to spam today only has a minimal number of followers. This way, if Twitter bans these users, it won't affect their accounts that they have already invested time in making it look real.

(Check out screenshots of the auto-reply bot accounts below. Want them to reply to you? Try using the hashtag #SmartFreeInternet and one of their bots will auto reply to your tweet)
But really, of course there are some things to complain about in any offerings. My question is, why black ops? Who is behind this and what's the purpose? To fool us or to fool their clients? Either way, what they are doing is fooling themselves.

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