There is no question that the Mexican government of Enrique Peña Nieto uses automated Twitter profiles (also known as “Peñabots”) to try and block out what the country’s Twitter users are actually saying, especially when it comes to the Iguala tragedy, which marked its three-month anniversary with more demonstrations on December 26.
Such is the case of the #YaMeCansé Twitter hashtag. Once a consistent global trend after Mexico’s attorney general uttered those now infamous words on November 7, there were signs around December 4 that the bots caused the hashtag to no longer get listed on Twitter’s lists of worldwide trends.
— Little Ms. GG (@littlemsgg) December 5, 2014
It is possible to abuse Trends. Of course, this is against the Twitter Rules. The following behaviors and others like them could cause your account to be filtered from search or even suspended:
- Adding one or more topic/hashtag to an unrelated Tweet in an attempt to gain attention in search.
- Repeatedly Tweeting the same topic/hashtag without adding value to the conversation in an attempt to get the topic trending or trending higher.
- Tweeting about each Trend in order to drive traffic to your profile or website, especially when mixed with advertising.
- Listing Trends in combination with a request to be followed.
- Tweeting about a Trend and posting a misleading link to something unrelated.
In essence, automated tweets and fake profiles spammed the hashtag like mad. However, once Twitter users who were sharing news about Ayotzinapa were clued in about the bot attack, they instantly switched to #YaMeCansé2. Soon enough, it became #YaMeCansé3, #YaMeCansé4, and so on. The strategy is simple: the moment users think that bots will spam the hashtag, they create another one.
The switch from 13 to 14 hasn’t really impacted the tweets being shared, since as of this afternoon, #YaMeCansé14 is already trending in Mexico:
— TrendieMX – Trends (@TrendieMX) December 28, 2014