The Q Life

Recently, a BBC investigation found that companies in Saudi Arabia have been advertising to artificially boost the popularity of hashtags to make them trend on Twitter. This practice is completely in contradiction of the social media network’s rules. The price to get automated “bot” accounts to make a hashtag trend for a few hours is around $200.

In early December a phrase which roughly translates as “Grilled Lamb Delivery” was a top trending phrase on Twitter. Nearly 17,000 tweets mentioned the phrase – most of them promoting just one restaurant, and listing the restaurant’s phone number.

As it turns out, “Grilled Lamb Delivery” and the restaurant grilling it, wasn’t trending because thousands of people were Tweeting about it. In fact, the “Grilled Lamb Delivery” hashtag was a clandestine advertising campaign being pushed – successfully – by a network of automated bot accounts.

The moral of this story… don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Rich Fields is a veteran radio broadcaster who is best known for having been the Announcer on the Price is Right. He is also an Emmy Award winning Meteorologist .