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Volume 26 No. 228
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Morey The Apparent Target Of Twitter Bots After Hong Kong Tweet

Morey's (c) Hong Kong tweet earlier this month set off an international situation between the NBA and China
Photo: NBAE/getty images
Morey's (c) Hong Kong tweet earlier this month set off an international situation between the NBA and China
Photo: NBAE/getty images
Morey's (c) Hong Kong tweet earlier this month set off an international situation between the NBA and China
Photo: NBAE/getty images

Rockets GM Daryl Morey was the "target of what appears to be a coordinated harassment campaign after his tweet on Oct. 4," as Morey's Twitter account was "flooded with comments from pro-Chinese-government accounts that mentioned him more than 16,000 times," according to Cohen, Wells & McGinty of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Ben Nimmo, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab, said, "It looks like there were humans at the keyboard for many of these posts. This wasn't primarily a bot swarm. It was a troll mob. Which is a lot harder to deal with." Twenty-two percent of Morey-related posts in the 12 hours following his initial tweet "came from accounts with 0 followers at some point last week and 50% were from accounts with fewer than 13 followers." There were 4,855 total users in all who had "never tweeted until they replied to Morey, and 3,677 accounts didn't exist until his tweet." Clemson associate professor Darren Linvill said, "I'm not saying this is a state-affiliated operation. But I've only seen so many brand-new accounts used at one time when it was a state-affiliated operation" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/17).