Politics

#YangBeatsTrump – Geoff Golberg – Medium

How Twitter trends have been rendered useless

Screenshot from September 10th, 2019

The #YangBeatsTrump hashtag began trending on Twitter earlier this afternoon after a poll showed President Trump trailing Andrew Yang by 8 points in New Hampshire.

Let’s take a look at some of the more active accounts pushing the hashtag.

Meet “BRI” (@comeatmeehoe), who according to their Twitter bio is from Queens, NY:

“Bri” has tweeted more than 600 times today (September 10th, 2019) and more than 1,600 times over the past 3 days.

Moreover, @comeatmeehoe has retweeted tweets that include #YangBeatsTrump 387 times today (inclusive of retweets, it has tweeted the hashtag a total of 419 times today):

In the first 10 days of September, the account has tweeted over 3,000 times.

Then there’s “FnerbyShnerb” (@FShnerb) from the UK:

“FnerbyShnerb” has tweeted 947 times today and more than 2,000 times over the past 3 days.

Moreover, @FShnerb has retweeted tweets that include #YangBeatsTrump 329 times today (inclusive of retweets, it has tweeted the hashtag a total of 334 times today):

In the last 5 days, the account has tweeted over 3,200 times.

Andy (@Andy49925004) is relatively new to Twitter (account was created less than a month ago) and is still rocking a default profile and background image:

The account was created on August 16th, 2019, and had only tweeted twice until today (when @Andy49925004 tweeted 330 times).

Moreover, Andy has retweeted tweets that include #YangBeatsTrump 228 times today (inclusive of retweets, it has tweeted the hashtag a total of 233 times today):

Finally, meet Drewy (@Drew45475026), who according to their Twitter bio is an Iraq Vet:

Drewy has tweeted more than 600 times today and nearly 1,000 times over the past 3 days.

Moreover, @Drew45475026 has retweeted tweets that include #YangBeatsTrump 163 times today (inclusive of retweets, it has tweeted the hashtag a total of 165 times today):

In the first 10 days of September, the account has tweeted over 1,500 times.

At the time of data collection, #YangBeatsTrump had clocked around 15K tweets.

It certainly appears that coordinated inauthentic activity has contributed to #YangBeatsTrump trending.

For example, the 4 accounts reviewed in this post have tweeted the hashtag 1,151 times alone! (8% of the 15K tweets)

The trending hashtag has been covered by Newsweek thus far — will other outlets follow suit tomorrow?

Geoff Golberg is an NYC-based researcher (and entrepreneur) who is fascinated by graph visualization/network analysis — more specifically, when applied to social networks and blockchain activity. His experience spans structured finance, ad tech, and digital marketing/customer acquisition, both at startups and public companies.

Geoff is the Founder/CEO/Janitor of Social Forensics, where he spends (far too much of) his time developing techniques and building tools to identify social media manipulation (of various flavors!).

Read about Geoff’s war with Twitter here!




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