Twitter spammers are having a field day with Trump’s tweets

Over the past few days, I’ve noticed a pretty interesting pattern emerging in the replies to tweets by president-elect Donald Trump.

First, Trump sends out a provoking tweet:

Then, an influential (often verified) journalist or activist replies with a thread that debunks, challenges or makes fun of Trump’s tweet. This thread gets lots of likes and retweets, and is displayed prominently at the top of the replies screen by Twitter’s official (web and mobile) clients:

Finally, an account with a name like “Deplorable Louis 🐸” replies with a link to a TeeChip campaign for a “liberal tears” mug, which gets hundreds of replies and thousands of likes and retweets:

Out of Trump’s five latest tweets, four follow this exact pattern (1, 2, 3, 4).

The tweets all follow a very similar format: their emoji-laden text is close to identical, they always link to a Facebook post that then links to a TeeChip campaign, and the accounts that tweet them have on the order of 1,000 followers. These are all telltale signs for spam.

Because of TeeChip’s fairly opaque nature, it’s unclear who is running these campaigns, how many campaigns there are (they expire every 24 hours), or how many mugs they’re selling. But one thing is obvious: someone is expertly playing Twitter’s algorithms and (probably) making a lot of money off Donald Trump’s tweets.

Edit 2017–01–05: Looks like The Outline noticed this too.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.