Hospital Bots and the Appeal to Sympathy


Whether for political manipulation, commercial manipulation, or to scam real users, fake Twitter accounts first must be accepted as “real” by real users. To appear real, one of the psychological tricks used by fake Twitter accounts is an appeal to sympathy. While morbid in their intent, hospital bots are a clear example of an attempt to deceive by sympathy.

Hospital Bots Pull on Users’ Heartstrings

Pulling on the natural kindness of others, the profile and background pictures of these accounts show sick or injured people in a hospital bed. Sometimes a child is in the hospital bed. In this particular hospital bot, a model bot is also pictured.

But frequently, the bot creators use images of elderly people in hospital beds.

Like with the model bots, the bot creators will sometimes use pictures of the same elderly people in hospital beds.

Most of these examples have at least several hundred followers but very few tweets. This is because their followers are mostly filled with fake accounts.

A Couple of Takeaways

While this is a relatively small bot group, it highlights two things.

1 > the extent to which fake account creators will go to create psychologically manipulative accounts.

2 > the gargantuan holes in Twitter’s algorithms that allows accounts such as these to sign up in the first place.

It’s truly worth considering why Twitter’s algorithms can’t nab something as simple as hospital bots.

Written by Virginia Murr

Read More about Fake Twitter Accounts:

Twitter Bot Tutorial

Fake U.S. Generals are Pushing Politics on Twitter

Fake Facebook Accounts on Twitter

How Bad Has Twitter Follow-Back Resistance (FBR) Gotten?

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Author: Virginia Murr