According to some projection, Twitter will have its 500 millionth user today (Wed Feb 22, 2012 at about 3pm EST). I seriously wonder if that “user” will be a Chinese political spam bot?
You see, I sometimes tweet about the Chinese artist and political activist Ai Weiwei @aiww or talk about the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry @AWWNeverSorry. In the last 4 days alone, there were 15 brand new Chinese gov spam bots spamming me! The Chinese government wants to give the impression that lots of different people support its views.
Based on my experiences, the Chinese government and its agents have created many many Twitter spam bots, each only send out only about 120 or so personal @ message tweets to different people at the same time and then simply discard these accounts and left them unused! Try tweeting about Ai Weiwei @aiww and be spammed by the famous Chinese government spam bot yourself!
So thanks to brave opposition voices from people like Ai Weiwei, will the Chinese government and other spam bots creators be creating Twitter’s Six Millionth or even One Billionth user?
Note: I am not sure if these bots are fully automated or partially run by hired Chinese, also known as the 50 Cent Army/Party (in simplified Chinese: 五毛党; traditional Chinese: 五毛黨).
Also, I want to be clear that Weiwei is NOT the only target of these spam bots, I got spammed by them because I tweeted about Weiwei. Other people got spammed for tweeting about other people the Chinese government happen to disagree with.
Here are six of the 15 Chinese gov spam bot accounts (all different) that spammed me in the last 4 days! Click pix to zoom it. The first image is the collection of many of the spam messages on one page.