MasterChef Twitter hashtag swamped with spammers

The Twitter hashtag for hit reality cooking show MasterChef was swamped with spam tweets during the show last night.

masterchef twitter

The official Masterchef Twitter accounts encourages viewers to tag their Tweets with #MasterchefAu hashtag.

Nearly 300 spambots were created specifically for the screening of Masterchef on Ten last night, set up within minutes of the show airing and as the hashtag became a trending topic.

Twitter has now suspended the dodgy accounts, but not before the #Masterchef hashtag had been flooded with over 1,100 tweets.In total, expert counts indicate the program and hashtag had picked up 8,700 Tweets from 3,700 people. Spambots, or fake Twitter accounts, are automatically created by programs which mimic human accounts, and are designed to fool people into clicking on the links within the tweets, which usually take the user to porn sites or viruses.

Leslie Nassar, who runs TweeVeeTV, said “I think it signals a leap in spammers’ technical capability. Twitter is a real-time platform; unless Twitter can counter spammers in real-time, the platform’s integrity and usefulness will decline. The conversation will transform in to a shouting match.”

At time of writing Network Ten was not able to confirm what action, if any, it would take before the next episode airs. Experts suggest this is the largest volume of spam targeting a single program yet seen in Australia. Spam is against Twitter’s terms of use, but it can take several hours before accounts breaking its guidelines are blocked or suspended.

Some of the tweets included:

@BridgetConrad1 “#masterchef We jeered so desperately I became banging <spam link>”

@ChristyMejia2 “#masterchef Brad is unquestionably a prick. He posted the playback quality upon porntube. Such the bum.<spam link>”

While there is not an industry defined “success” rate for Twitter spam, experts estimate that only one person in 12.5 million needs to open a spam email in order to make the endeavour profitable.


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