Donald Trump is no stranger to Twitter trolls, but now, supporters of the US presidential candidate are also getting some attention on the microblogging website. Trump fans have been unknowingly engaged in arguments by an automatic Twitter robot spouting gibberish, resulting in an almost incomprehensible and amusing tweetstorm.
The Twitter bot, which also posts tweets about professional baseball and wrestling, was developed to immediately respond to Trump's tweets and reply to Twitter users who communicate with it with nonsensical sentences. Ironically, most Trump fans failed to recognise the account as a bot and continued arguing with it, eventually abandoning the conversation.
The Twitter bot was reportedly thought up by a Kentucky resident, going only by the name Forrest, with the Twitter handle @Nasboat. "The bot is just a mishmash of my tweets. @AwfulJack is the one who started the account. I'm clueless on the technical side," he told The Daily Beast. "There had been a few other bots made from other users we know and follow, and I thought it was a funny concept and wanted one of my own. I sent him my archive, and he got it up and running."
The man behind @AwfulJack is Jack Kirkland, a resident of Indiana, who admitted to developing the bot, claiming it to be a "good exercise to learn programming". The Twitter bot is "constantly on the Heroku platform and is coded in Ruby", he added.
The bot has been active since May 2015, but only recently it came into the spotlight, after Kirkland tweaked it to respond with the phrase "Delete your account", every time a fresh tweet was posted by Donald Trump. The same phrase was tweeted by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, sparking a furious tweetstorm among the two contenders and their supporters.
"I've learned never to underestimate the gullibility or lack of awareness of people online, especially on Twitter," Forrest said. "Plus, the bot tends to get pretty inflammatory and makes no sense, which I think clearly speaks to the kind of person who supports Trump."