, 12 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
#NPC Twitter accounts: either bots or the most repetitive video game ever invented. . .
In recent days, a number of "#NPC" accounts that self-identify as #Resistance have emerged. We found this example while researching another project, and have also had various folks draw our attention to the phenomenon. Let's take a quick look. . .
The theme of the accounts is to portray those opposed to the present administration as "NPCs" (a term for non-player characters in games), likely in an attempt to imply that opponents are simply executing a script rather than stating a genuine position. #GamerGate
To explore the phenomenon, we ran a search for tweets and retweets containing #NPC, and limited the set of accounts to those A) created since September 1st and B) having a userpic matching the theme shown here. This resulted in 345 accounts (it's probable that we missed some).
Here's the combined tweet schedule of the 345 #NPC accounts. This group of accounts is active round-the-clock (although the individual accounts do take breaks).
The #NPC accounts would like you to know that they are not bots. We're skeptical, but can't say definitively that these are bots; could be a small group of humans doing their best bot impression by manually spamming repetitive tweets. Either way, it's a coordinated operation.
Going back to the #NPC theme, a number of the accounts have tweets like this. The concept is presumably to present a hypothetical "script" that #Resistance accounts are following. (No, the code shown is not a real programming language).
The 345 #NPC accounts use a combination of common anti-Trump hashtags (possibly in an attempt to flood search results) and ridiculous hashtags that aren't actually used by #Resistance accounts such as #BashTheFash and #GreyLivesMatter (with both US and UK spellings, LoL).
Much appreciation to the actual #resistance for bringing this to our attention.
Footnote: this thread attracted some quick non-sequitur replies from several of the #NPC accounts.
Also check out this analysis of the same phenomenon from @josh_emerson.
Update: looks like this whole #NPC thing originated on Reddit's /r/The_Donald forum. Somebody even built a website to generate replies with, and there are instructions for quickly copy/pasting them on an iPhone. Oh, the suspensions are a hot topic over there right now too.
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