Twitter logo pooping. Image: Twitter, Alyssa Shotwell.

Twitter Users Are Still Better at Fighting Bots Than Elon Musk

BUY THAT T-SHIRT RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

Twitter may be a cesspit most of the time—especially after Elon Musk’s takeover—but sometimes its users produce something that is golden, and that’s just what Twitter has been doing as the fight against bot accounts rages on.

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Elon Musk still thinks the solution to bot accounts is charging people for Twitter “verification,” but users have been taking things into their own hands for years when it comes to t-shirt bots. These bots tend to take notice of the traction that a tweet is getting if people start replying to viral tweets of some kind of art or image, saying they’d like to get it on a t-shirt. Then, bots will take the design, put it on shirts, and start letting people know exactly where they can get it.

Since around 2017, people have been baiting these bot accounts by talking about designs they’d like to see on t-shirts, except they’ve weaponized it against the bots, tweeting about images that could get the companies behind them into copyright trouble—or just otherwise poking fun at them. For example, tweeting that they wish there was a t-shirt design with Mickey and Minnie Mouse on, something to do with Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, or something else that’s just as embarrassing as that man.

Recently, one user took a slightly different approach, causing the bots to simultaneously out themselves as obvious bot accounts and directly suggest that people should block them.

One user replied, “man this shirt is so cool I wanna buy this #shirt right now where can I get it online?!?” While another said, “It’s just like THEM to try to stop a shirt like this. I just order TWENTY. That’ll teach them!!!!”

Cartoonist Rory Blank recently told Vice that he rarely makes custom shirts because they just get copied by bots.

“This has been a big pet peeve problem of mine for years with little attention paid to it.

“My shirts are generally more successful than my comics. I put a lot of work into new designs, but now putting new stuff up fills me with an overwhelming sense of dread. It’s extremely disheartening, to have put so much effort into something and see some dickhead come around and immediately copy it. This is most of my livelihood.”

This tactic clearly hasn’t gotten rid of the bots yet, but neither has Elon, and at least this is a lot more fun as we wait and hope that it eventually pays off.

(featured image: Alyssa Shotwell)


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Author
Brooke Pollock
Brooke Pollock is a UK-based entertainment journalist who talks incessantly about her thoughts on pop culture. She can often be found with her headphones on listening to an array of music, scrolling through social media, at the cinema with a large popcorn, or laying in bed as she binges the latest TV releases. She has almost a year of experience and her core beat is digital culture.