Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Ed Show Has Dubious Twitter Spam That Parallels Maddow's

UPDATE: Morning Joe is involved.

FURTHER UPDATE: Someone just erased the links.

Since I'm a Communist who voted for Obama and hates America, I usually don't read Free Republic. But I stumbled onto a post about how Rachel Maddow was supposedly "busted" for using multiple fake Twitter accounts to boost the Twitter profile of her show. Here's the story:
As can be seen by screenshots collected by a tweeter named @LeftyBollocks, Maddow has massive amount of accounts posting the exact same claim that "Confession: I yell at my TV while watching Rachel #Maddow talk about filibuster reform in the same way most people do during football."
I made a search of the same phrase on Twitter and sure enough, multiple unsourced retweets popped up.

People on FR are gloating about this, it received a mention on Drudge, and other conservative commentators have been talking it up. But it's important to note that there's no evidence these spammers are directly connected to Maddow. Over at Help The 99ers, the blogger has found examples of these kinds of retweets that don't involve MSNBC shows - and makes the argument that Maddow is the victim:
Twitter spammers seem to have developed a new strategy for their fake accounts: grab a real tweet from a real person, and repeat it.
As I read the pages of these Tweeters, I noticed they used this: #Teamfollowback. There is an account on Twitter that advertises this hashtag and declares: "We will help you get followers that follow back!"

So... that's the evidence, so far. It certainly hasn't been proven that Maddow's show hired these people. They might just be trying to build traffic for themselves. It's easy to see how they might think they'd get a reply from Maddow or some other prominent person, and this would increase their own prominence.

Also, the blog Help The 99ers has examples of Twitter spam involving the Ed Show... and these accounts are different. In these cases there's a connection to an actual company that offers web promotion services.

Here are phrases promoting the show that seem to involve spammers:

Hahahahahaha, what threatening e-mails. #edshow #p2 #p21

Oh boy, Michael .E.Dyson is here-time to get my dictionary! #edshow

#edshow I sure hope the deal gets done! I'm ready to move on to my New Year's Resolutions! Sick of the Cliff!

When you click on the accounts of these people - I've done this repeatedly - you find the same profile: low tweets and almost no followers. Plus... these accounts link to the same website, a service named http://followersdelivery.com/ that sells packages to increase your followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube.

I have not found the same connection to Maddow's "fans." And the important point is that none of these people are actually following the Ed Show - they are commenting on it. I contacted the service as an interested blogger who might want to get someone to talk about my blog/possible Youtube show, and I received an email saying they did not offer a "comment service." There are services out there that actually advertise re-tweets, and the service linked to Ed Show "fans" has nothing like this on their website. But discretion is part of the package here. Followers Delivery promises that it's "100% Safe, No Risk, Anonymous."

I'm no fan of Drudge or the Freepers, but it may be time for these shows to comment on the matter. Something is happening.

(Full disclosure: As a progressive blogger I've repeatedly emailed Maddow's show with links to my posts, and probably once or twice I think I've emailed the Ed Show. They've never responded, and I suspect I didn't exactly help my chances with this post. Also, if you're a conservative who's reading this, you should know that I'm in favor of choice, gun control, gay rights, and I think Republicans are generally lunatics. But the story is what it is. Come at me, haters.)

19 comments:

  1. As a Pro-Life, Pro 2nd Amendment, who thinks the LBGT community generally behaves like a bunch of spoiled children throwing tantrums when they can't get sprinkles on their ice cream, I think your article is actually very well balanced. I don't think anything you've found is illegal. It might be slightly unethical but on a scale of one to ten it rates about .5. It is, however, worthy of much mockery. Look at it this way: a couple of the people I follow seem to live tweet Red Eye every freak'n night (must be nice not to have to work in the morning). Ed Schultz has to pay someone to tweet about his show.

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  2. pro-choice but in favor of gun control? Carrying a gun is my personal choice? You would deny choice in one area but not the other?

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    1. Do you support Nanny Bloomberg's large-size soda ban? Is it not my choice to control my body? I just want to see if 'right to choose' and 'right to privacy' only apply to abortion.

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    2. Okay, good. Nothing infuriates me more than 'pro choice' liberals who are only 'pro-choice' for abortion. Have a nice day. :)

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  3. You might be the point man for this Ed Shultz angle. (In the strange bedfellows department, a google search for more info on fake Ed Shultz twitter tweets shows that FR has a link to this article now too.) So we have three MSNBC shows absolutely certainly being spammed now.

    FWIW, the same spammers or follower-boosters or whatever they are are also responsible for a rash of identical tweets of a hockey game between the SJ Sharks and the Coyotes. Who knows how much crap they're spewing onto Twitter at high and nearly constant rate. (There are still many manifestations of the original Maddow fake-tweets every hour at the time I am writing this.)

    Twitter, certainly, and almost as certainly, as you suggest, MSNBC, have some work to do to rid themselves of these parasites.

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  4. @msnbcpr has already responded, saying they had nothing to do with the spam, and saying they've spoken to Twitter about it.

    (Predictably, this denial--as well as the fact that they can show no link whatsoever between the the spam accounts and their one Maddow mention each and anyone associated with the Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC, or any liberal individual or group--is being used by these conspiracists as evidence that their theories and speculations are God's own truth.)

    If the spammers have a sense of humor, it won't be long before a FoxNews personality is mentioned and spammed...and just as the fact that it hasn't happened so far is "proof" of the Great MSNBC Twitter Conspiracy, those tweets will "prove" they're right (and the Fox tweets are just a "cover-up"), as well. As far as they're concerned all the facts (including the ones they lack) are proof that they're right...and all who question them are "in on it," as well...

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    1. @MSNBCPR did say that about Maddow, but not about the Ed Show or Morning Joe. I asked them for comment, and we'll see. The reason the distinction is important is that the Ed Show and Morning Joe spammers are linked to an actual Twitter follower company. Maddows' are linked to a different group that doesn't have an obvious commercial arrangement with people.

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    2. But thanks! I didn't know about their Maddow comment...

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  5. Somebody should do something about these spammers. They are messing up everything and it is hard to follow the genuine source. I do not understand why spammers are doing so.

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  6. Great post, good research, thanks!

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  7. Gotta hand you props, Paul. I realize I'm not exactly working with a random sampling but my personal experience has shown me liberals are usually much more concerned with being right then being honest. So it's refreshing to see a self-avowed liberal pushing for honesty - even though it may conflict with the party line.
    It seems to me if more people had your priorities, we'd be in a much better position, politically speaking. So even though you're camped on the WRONG SIDE (pardon the cap-sized, obligatory inflammatory), thank you very much for your intellectual honesty.

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    1. Thanks, you capitalist running dog, you.

      You totally took that as a compliment, didn't you?

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    2. I sure did you selfless arbitrator of social injustices, you.

      Ditto? ;)

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    3. Perfect. Although that, done in the right sarcastic tone, is the perfect burn for liberals.

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  8. Paul, I'm curious if you spend much time around real world normal person conservatives or just make your opinions of Republicans based on your perception of Fox News and Bloggers on the right? I am a Republican who is pro choice, in favor of gun control (only in the same way that I am in favor of abortion control, that is to say that things aren't perfect now and could most certainly get better. You cannot take away the 2nd Ammendment, just as you can't try to take away the Roe v Wade decision). Also, as far as gay rights, I almost feel like saying "gay rights" is insulting because they shouldn't just be given certain "rights" they should have every freedom every other American has without any discrimination. If you feel like a gay couple getting married is somehow an assault on your marriage, you should probably take stock of your situation. Nobody, gay or straight should affect you like that. This "traditional marriage" talk is rediculous. Is it a "traditional marriage" when a 23yr old gorgeous woman marries a 59 year old man with a nine digit net worth, then goes on to have an open relationship? Or is it traditional any time it's a man and a woman? I'll take a thousand loving married gay couples over a phony sham of a straight marriage. Now I'll end this by saying that I think that a lot of MSNBC personalities are wrong. Since MSNBC is what this is about, but that doesn't make me think all liberals are lunatics, I don't even necessarily believe that the liberals that come off as lunatics are in fact lunatics. Some are probably putting on a show for ratings and playing a character. Generalizing, blaming, hyperbole, and stereotyping is not productive. It is what is leading to the gridlock and problems everywhere. I have many friends on the left and I don't think any of them qualify as lunatics. Can't we all just get along? It's not as hard and people make it seem.

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    1. Good on you for respecting gay people and women's rights. I do in fact have some socially liberal Republican friends and family. But I have encountered plenty of the other kind.

      Look, Republican lawmakers have a long, well-established history of trying to fight choice and gay rights. They keep running people who take extreme rightwing positions on these issues. And Republican lawmakers are politicians - they give people what they want. The fact that someone like Rick Santorum went as far as he did indicates there is a large chunk of people who think like Rick Santorum. And they make the decisions in the party. That's been demonstrated.

      Until it's a different GOP I'm going to continue to generalize, blame, and use hyperbole. I will. Guilty as charged.

      But yeah, I do have deeply mixed feelings about MSNBC. They remind me of those ads that say Froot Loops are part of a complete breakfast, and then they show you a picture of a complete breakfast, plus their completely unnecessary bowl of sugary nonsense.

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    2. Anon (Mar 6, 12:36 am, in case this reply doesn't end up under your comment), I'm good with about 95% of all you said...but as you already seem to be aware, your positions are not those of too many on the right online (bloggers, tweeters, etc.), and that folks that step too far left, or don't show disdain for those on the left, are not looked upon kindly.

      That said, I generally try to talk in terms of issues rather than political philosophies. It's not right (or left) wingers, but people who think gay folks cannot civilly marry or believe women should be prevented from making decisions without government intervention... It's not the party that counts, but the way a person thinks and votes, and why... (While I'm happy when someone on the right votes against, say, mandating that people who break our immigration laws be sentenced to 5 years in prison, I'm less thrilled when they do so because they think the sentence should be 10 years.)

      I agree with your list of behaviors to avoid (and do try to avoid them) except for blaming. I think assigning responsibility (whether blame or credit, or some of both) is a worthwhile and necessary thing. Credit rewards and encourages more good behavior, and blame reduces bad behavior. I'm in favor of doing both...liberally.

      As for MSNBC, I like most of it, though individual hosts do go too far afield at times. Big fan of Maddow and Chris Hayes, who I believe seldom do. Lost some respect for CNN, but think that of the three cable news networks, they still have the best foreign reporting and access. Not a big fan of Fox, but think that of the same three, they tend to discuss politics and political news the most often. And Shep has grown on me...a little...

      As for MSNBC (and/or FoxNews) and this spambot thing (this response may be more for Paul), I still maintain that the network(s), show(s), and host(s) had absolutely nothing to do with any of this... Spammers promoting webcam dating, an up-n-coming musician, a contest to win an iPhone (and gather user contact info), and who-knows-what-all-else copied real tweets containing network/show/host hashtags, either to make the bots seem slightly like real people, or to latch onto something that was already trending to get in front of more eyeballs. It's the same reason that all the bot photos are of pretty barely-legal girls in provocative dress... It's all about the eyeballs and potential customers, baby...

      So I bear no ill will to any of the networks, shows, and hosts who got caught up in this...though I think that the people who attempted (and are likely still attempting) to capitalize on it for political gain ought to be as ashamed of themselves as I am of them. That kind of dishonest partisanship exposes people for who and what they really are...

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