, 10 tweets, 10 min read Read on Twitter
Today we learned that #FlatEarth botnets are a thing, because of course they are. Let's take a look at one.

cc: @ZellaQuixote
The examples shown in the previous tweet were all posted with an app called "Bot Libre!". We downloaded tweets containing #FlatEarth within the last 10 days and found 15 accounts posting with that app, which they all appear to use to post 100% of their tweets.
Do the #FlatEarth bots in this network repeat tweets in a spammy fashion? Considering that there are multiple tweets that have been posted over a thousand times, the answer is a resounding "yes" with a side of additional spam
Finally, here are the hashtags most frequently used by the bots in this network. #FlatEarth and #NASA are the most common, with #Jesus and #Satan putting in notable appearances.(According to this particular set of automated Twitter accounts, NASA serves Satan. Just so you know.)
Are there more bots among the flat earth traffic? Yes. Of 3045 accounts with tweets containing #FlatEarth or #NASALies within the past 10 days, 73 of 3045 (2.4%) appear automated based on 24/7 activity/use of apps/service. These 73 accounts posted 2212 of 8649 (25.6%) tweets.
Retweet network for #FlatEarth/#NASALies. Several of the automated accounts are featured prominently. @WeenieLinguini is a bit of an anomaly - it has no original #FlatEarth tweets, but has retweeted those of at least 503 other accounts.
We decided to explore the full history of #FlatEarth tweets. The volume is negligible (and mostly off-topic) until 2015, when it climbs drastically over the course of several months. The botnet documented in this thread is a major portion of the traffic from Nov 2015 onward.
Here are A) the most profilic 20 posters of #FlatEarth tweets and B) the accounts whose #FlatEarth tweets have been most frequently retweeted. Again, the bots show up prominently (including one we missed early due to it having stopped tweeting in 2017, @WAConstitution.)
How did the surge in #FlatEarth traffic begin? @ferryman and @Jayson4mind appear to be the first accounts to have pushed on-topic #FlatEarth tweets, in the form of spammy links to YouTube videos. Other accounts whose activity correlates with increases in volume are also shown.
Most of the videos linked from the early #FlatEarth tweets have been removed by YouTube, but a few are still up. Among them is this gem linked from @ferryman's very first #FlatEarth tweet: it's an "introduction to Flat Earth" video with over a million views.
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