If you happen to follow anyone that with a substantial amount of Twitter followers – for me, they included Gizmodo Australia’s Luke Hopewell, News Corp’s Jen Dudley-Nicholson, and Asher Wolf – then you would have noticed they were talking/complaining about the sudden increase of zombie followers.
And yes, they were literally zombie followers – they had no tweets, no followers, and all had images of zombies.
Turns out, it was all a marketing ploy designed to promote the latest season of the zombie drama The Walking Dead on Australian television. Yes, really. Someone thought it was a great idea to spam thousands of people – and potentially flood their inbox – with hundreds or even thousands of fake followers.
All just to promote some television show.
To the television station that commissioned this social media marketing campaign – go fuck yourselves.
Many of the zombie Twitter accounts have since been deleted. But if the television channel thought it would bring some chatter about the show, they thought wrong. Many of the people who were targeted by the campaign – all who have thousands or tens of thousands of followers – were annoyed.
Also, I’m assuming the creators of said marketing push didn’t realise the potential consequences of their actions. The Daily Dot – who suffered a similar flood of fake followers late last year – points out that Twitter could, in theory, suspend or delete your account if you suddenly get a flood of new fake followers.
According to Twitter’s terms of service:
Mass account creation may result in suspension of all related accounts. Please note that any violation of the Twitter Rules is cause for permanent suspension of all accounts.
Like the Daily Dot incident, Twitter was notified about the zombie followers problem. Based on the tweets from Twitter Australia, it is reasonable to assume that they did not know about the social media campaign.
I am refusing to name the television channel because I don’t want to give them any more attention. I will say that you can watch the show ‘slow-tracked’ on SBS2 (that said, it is the first season of the show) or even acquire the show through alternative means.