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Corporation Pays Their Way to #1 Twitter Trend

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.

Chime takes the #1 organic trending spot, *in addition* to the ad they placed above.

$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.

Chime gave details of the promo in this tweet. Mentions of, “chime” appeared to be almost exclusively attempts to get the $1,000 reward (example).

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Twitter: Guidelines for Promotions on Twitter

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