This began when Free Republic members noticed that Rachel Maddow was trending with identical tweets from nearly identical accounts. The Twitter accounts appeared to belong to young women with the sort of fake names you find in bad novels or spam email accounts.
Liberal blogger Paul Bibeau has noted similar trends involving Morning Joe and the Ed Show. The spam bots also tend to be young and female, with fake sounding names, but their profiles link to Followers Delivery, a Croatian that offers followers, likes and views across different social media services.
Some of the Twitters spambot accounts pose as young American women, but contain Chinese letters, suggesting that they are actually being run by low-paid Chinese internet users. This would not be atypical in the spam world.
I swear I got so much clothes ke it don’t even fit in my closet n e more馃槼馃槼馃槼
— Robbi Teasdale (@Izettackjv) March 3, 2013
My little infant niece is SOOOOcute!! I can’t wait to meet her!! 馃樆馃樆馃懚
— Aleta Spielmann (@Tommiefrvl) March 3, 2013
The initial defense being made by some liberal sites is that Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, etc are the victims of spam bots who only send these messages to make their accounts seem legitimate. And while spambots do indeed to this, these accounts don’t do anything else.
These accounts are linked to a Follower Delivery service and yet they don’t do anything else. They don’t randomly retweet or tweet messages from FOX News personalities or CNN personalities or just random celebrities. Instead they are created, they push the MSNBC tweet and then put out some fake-sounding personal tweets. They don’t break from that pattern except for MSNBC.
Followers Delivery’s deluxe Twitter packages promises Desired Target Audiences, which it’s safe to say in this case is young women 18-25. That’s a demographic that advertisers want really badly. FD promises that their Twitter followers will be absolutely real, but these clearly are not.
FD promises “delivery” within 24 hours. That appears to be roughly the timeline for these Ed Show tweets. Paul points out that FD makes no mention of offering trending services, but it’s doubtful that they wouldn’t be willing to go there for a client considering everything else that they do. MSNBC personalities don’t need Twitter followers. They need Twitter trending topics. And would Croatia’s finest follower delivery site fail to deliver?
Trending Twitter topics are seen as a sign of relevance. MSNBC has better ratings than CNN
There’s a lot of strange dark territory on the internet, but it does look a lot like MSNBC was using spambots to push its hosts into trending topic territory.