Yesterday the lead story on front page of the Sunday Tribune was about how a certain Durban Digital Media company, was paid R500,000 for a social media campaign called We Love Durban.
The campaign forms part of a global campaign, called the “Earth Hour City Challenge” by the WWF encouraging cities around the world to tweet on sustainable living. The city with the most tweets, tagged with a dedicated hashtag, by the 27th March will win the competition. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the “prize” is though, except maybe a badge on a website.
But, what I am gonna do, is look at how I Luv DBN has been manipulating votes, by creating FAKE twitter accounts to gather more votes. It seems they using an automated BOT, called TweetAdder v4, which adds fake accounts and tweets automated scheduled tweest,
So, if you do a twitter search on the hashtag #WeLoveDurban, I noticed a number of accounts JUST talking about #WeLoveDurban. When going into these accounts, I saw this is ALL they spoke about. An random example in case is @Alixking2070C, who has posted 155 tweets in 1 WEEK, ALL of them tagged with #WeLoveDurban.
Alex King, who lives in Arizona, really LOVES Durban. But she also has 91 followers, and follows 331 people. If we click onto her followers, I see a number of accounts that look rather suspicious.
When I clicked onto 3 random followers, they ALL have a similar number of followers, and ALL tweet about #WeLoveDurban
Even though this is a fairly small “sample” of people and accounts, I am confident that the large majority of the tweets for this campaign, for the Durban entries, are fake. I have also heard from a number of people that they too have noticed this dodgy behavior and seen similar activities across the brand. They have also stolen a number of images on Instagram and reposted them themselves, without any accreditation.
This is unacceptable for a worldwide competition, which has a global following, and I really trust the WWF, who is behind this competition does some thorough investigation and analysis to ensure that all tweets are legitimate and non fraudulent before announcing the winners!
Disclaimer: The above views are my own personal views, and even though I have been contacted (numerous times) by the Agency responsible for this scam, I have declined to take part due to my suspicion around the brand and campaign.
Update: 17 March 20:35
Since this post was published earlier today, a number of fake accounts have been deleted. This is proven by the fact that you can no longer any of the above mentioned accounts. As I said above the above accounts were just a sample.
The I Love Durban campaign also posted a blog post earlier denying the allegations of the excessive funds as well as claiming “Cyber-Bullying” tactics which were used in the above blog posts. I wish to state that the post is not intended as a “Cyber Bullying” or defamation post, but merly a post stating some of the facts found from proven research. Unless the above facts are proven to be false, I will stand by my above findings.