[Photo by: Twitter]
If you're been on Twitter at all within the past year you've probably noticed a few tweets on your timeline that have an insane amount of retweets, with a lot of those retweets containing the same, plagiarized captions. Some of these “viral tweets” are pretty bizarre, and you can't help but wonder how on earth something like that has gone viral. It all comes down to secret groups called “decks” who sell retweets and help posts go viral, all while making thousands of dollars a month doing so.
No, we're not joking. It's called “tweetdecking” and here's how it works.
These secret social network groups are called “decks” and involve teens with accounts that hold tens of thousands of followers. Decks contain a highly organized system of mass-retweeting which help launch deck members' and paying customers' tweets into virality.
Customers taking advantage of tweetdecking can include everyone from individuals wanting to go viral to brands, paying the owner of a deck to retweet one or more of their posts across deck member accounts. Single retweets can cost between $5-$10, with weekly and monthly subscriptions available for several hundred dollars depending on the deck's popularity. These subscriptions allow customers temporary access to a deck for an unlimited amount of deck retweets.
In other words, a deck owner can easily make several thousands of dollars every month.
“It’s the simplest thing ever, all you do is have your friends join and you have fun and tweet and make money,” Kendrik, an owner of two of his own decks, told BuzzFeed. “It’s the easiest thing ever. No hard work at all.”
Although members of decks make less money than deck owners, they can still pull in hundreds of dollars a month simply for retweeting tweets from their accounts.
So all of those viral Twitter posts with the absurd amount of retweets you see spamming your timeline probably came from a deck, and most of those tweets are plagiarized.
I can't believe this man just fixed racism https://t.co/empybED70B
— Dairy Prince (@NicholasPeters_) August 19, 2017
Plagiarized tweets are nothing new to Twitter, but decks are allowing pretty much anyone to break into the game of stealing tweets in order to increase their following and in exchange, increase a deck's popularity and profitability.
Obviously not everyone is happy about stolen tweets. Unlike tweetdeckers, those who have their tweets stolen won't see a dime from it.
Back in December, Kareem Rose decided to fight back, creating a viral thread calling out dozens of decks and urging people to block them.
“I was basically tired of seeing the same tweet go viral once a week by a different account,” Rose told BuzzFeed. “Our timelines were basically getting overflowed with tweets we’ve seen before and it honestly made Twitter less enjoyable. Not only that, but we were tired of having our tweets stolen from the deck accounts and them getting the credit for it.”
As the thread gained popularity, owners and members of various tweet decks began harassing Rose, going as far as to mass-report his account in an attempt to get it locked or suspended. Rose eventually deleted his account due to continued harassment, but thanks to hashtags such as #TweetDeckIsOverParty and #TakeBackOurTimelines2018, the awareness of tweet decks continues to grow.
Despite the criticism, many tweetdeckers continue to defend their work.
“Anyone that tries to explain what tweetdecking is always gets it wrong… When people say it's 'fake fame/clout' it's also false,” Kendrick explains to BuzzFeed. “Anything negative towards decks is always false.”
What are your thoughts on “tweetdecking”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.