A corporation appears to have paid their way to the #1 trending Twitter spot. Chime, a financial services app is trending at the #1 spot today, even outranking a bombshell story about Rudy Giuliani.
$1,000 for the Best Reply
In addition to the Twitter advertising campaign, Chime has used another tactic to pay their way to the number 1 organic spot (not just the ad shown above it), offering a cash reward for replying to a hashtag.
Millions use Chime everyday. For a chance to win $1k, tell us you love Chime without telling us you love Chime. #WhyIChime
See how to enter below. No purch nec. Void where prohibited. Ends 4/28.
— Chime (@Chime) April 27, 2021
The Lack of Genuine Engagement
In fact, in the last 6 hours, there don’t appear to be any Tweets mentioning the company Chime with at least 10 retweets… other than their own announcement of the promotion.1
This indicates Twitter users aren’t interested in this content and that Chime is only trending because of users taking part in their promotion. We don’t doubt they have enough replies to trend. The point we’re making is that these replies seem to be almost all people trying to get their $1,000 reward, rather than true organic engagement.
Manipulating Twitter Trends
The contest doesn’t appear to violate Twitter rules2, however, it raises some serious questions about paid ads on social media. If a company can (indirectly) pay their way to the top organic trending spot, do corporations have too much influence on social media? If a company paid their way to the #1 CNN headline, or the #1 Fox News story, it would be a scandal. Should this be too?
Opinion: Further Discussion is Needed
The issues raised about social media trends and advertising are complex, and this post didn’t intend to solve them. We hope this stimulates further discussion about the role of paid ads in social media, and how this effects our culture.
- Latest tweets as of roughly 6:35pm EST that mention, “chime” with at least 10 retweets. See screenshot. There’s some possibility Twitter search is excluding these from our advanced search based on their search policies, however that may further support the contention that Chime’s results are due to non-organic, paid promotion rather than natural, organic Twitter use.
- Twitter: Guidelines for Promotions on Twitter