wat in the world is going on with these linkless spam-like tweets?
August 26, 2014 11:17 PM   Subscribe

Weird account #1 Weird account #2 Weird account #3

There are no links either in any of the tweets or in the (nonexistent) profile descriptions, so they can't be driving traffic anywhere.

Every tweet ends with a ":" and then a random-seeming string that resembles (to me) a shortened URL path minus the domain.

Many of the tweets contain "los angeles."

The only engagement one could possibly have with these accounts, I think, would be to DM them. But why would anyone do that?

Some of the followers of the weird accounts are other weirdo spam bots that do occasionally tweet links to things, so maybe it's a strangely inefficient-seeming way to drive traffic to those links?
posted by univac to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Maybe a modern twitterverse version of a numbers station? Someone somewhere takes the bits after the ":" and decrypts it.
posted by duoshao at 11:24 PM on August 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It could be a variation on using twitter to send commands to a botnet. That article's a few years old now so presumably techniques have advanced?
posted by coleboptera at 11:37 PM on August 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: duoshao, I was thinking something along those lines - I guess coleboptera's botnet command hypothesis would be a version of that.
posted by univac at 12:41 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Could it be part of an effort to give minimal credibility to a bunch of fake accounts for the purposes of later selling "1000 extra Twitter followers for $20", etc, as some very sleazy social media people do?
posted by oliverburkeman at 12:57 AM on August 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Also possibly someone doing automated testing of some kind of twitter-related software: there was an FPP about a youtube account posting tons of randomly-generated videos recently, turned out to be part of a testing framework for image processing or something like that.
posted by Dr Dracator at 2:06 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

They all have a small number of dodgy followers, mostly automated quotes. I agree with oliverburkeman that these are most likely spam accounts that follow for pay (or soon will). My guess is that the number is an identifier for that particular string of gibberish. I tested about a dozen tweets (without the numbers), and interestingly got not near or exact matches — the tweets aren't copy/pasted from somewhere.
posted by third word on a random page at 3:50 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just a theory, but I wonder if these are test accounts for some tech company or individual trying to reverse engineer Twitter or Google's search algorithm for tweets for SEO purpose. The text looks akin to the generated nonsensical subjects for phishing emails designed to bypass spam filters. The IDs could just be GUIDs to identify how the system generated the text.
posted by deathpanels at 5:19 AM on August 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

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