How sketchy is this?
November 7, 2017 1:42 AM   Subscribe

So sometimes on Twitter I get tagged randomly on stuff that's vaguely environment-related (as are most of my tweets, which all relate to my work). And these tweets get hundreds of likes so they keep popping up in my notifications. But the tweets themselves seem sort of non-sensical or weird, like this one from a "Foundation" that doesn't even have their website set up, only a Twitter presence.

The tweet itself links to some climate change petition on another website, and has been 'liked' by real, verifiable human beings. The climate change petition website and the 'Foundation' website are registered with privacy protection services, which none of the other non-profits I support are. So is all of this some bot-generated nonsense mixed with enough information that it's attracting real-world support and attention, or am I just paranoid?
posted by stinker to Technology (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I get them as well within my field (textiles/social media/publishing), so it is not just you. I don't quite know what the *exact* purpose is, but I can imagine a few things.

Some less media-savvy types will like/RT anything their names are attached to — to a machine, an account that regularly generates likes/RTs will appear valid and get pushed up in results. Once you have a collection of these "genuine bots" with a certain sense of importance, I wager you could use them for other things.

Another use could be standard phishing with petitions that require a lot of personal data. Or you have click an .exe to sign the petition, maybe, which will install malware.

I might be too 2012 in my thinking but I avoid any & all interaction with these tweets & accounts.
posted by kariebookish at 8:30 AM on November 7, 2017

Lots of orgs around the world have the same name or acronym as my twitter handle. People someones guess wrong when trying to mention one of them. I mostly ignore the misaddressed tweets unless it looks like sending someone a correction is going the save having a long stream of misaddressed tweets in my notification timeline. Sometimes mute helps. I've sometimes blocked repeat offenders.
posted by dws at 10:45 AM on November 7, 2017

This account definitely looks like some sort of bot - and not a very good one. But it doesn't link to a petition, it links to a Thunderclap, which basically allows people to sign up for a mass tweet or FB post at a given time (ie, you give Thunderclap permission to tweet something from your account at the same time many other people are tweeting the same thing). Which is a legit tool but definitely open to juicing with bots.

I wonder if this is a bot account set up to promote Thunderclaps?
posted by lunasol at 12:29 PM on November 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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