The 90 minutes #next13 was unbearable

Not being at an event you want to be at hurts. However, being unable to follow the conversation there due to a hijacked hashtag hurts even more. When #next13 was hijacked (a “sexjacked”, as I like to call it), the event was overshadowed by spam messages for 90 minutes.

So with #next13, spambots really got in a frenzy. Loading the stream from those 3.360 plus tweets (according to shows 696 mentions of the bitly link ZNCp1Z, which was clicked an amazing 534 times as of 23:00 CET tonight (which you may see by adding a plus to the link; And it does not even take you to a porn site…


However, given the attack was rather obvious, it’s unlikely that those “clickers” have been at #next13 – the link was widely spread by the ladybots.


The spam rally started around 10:13 CET, and stopped around 11:41 CET out of the blue. For 90 minutes, the #next13 hashtag was taken over, and then like magic, it stopped. All of it. Even the spam bots provided without that link.

Maybe the spambots did not like haiku (as this tweet was written just before the end)?


At 11:55, @SanktPony asked what happened (and got answer at 12:09):


This is what the feed looked like at 11:07 – 10 times spam, two times signal:


The preparation of “alternate” hashtags in advance for the case of a kidnapping, was suggested at 10:42.


@nextconf tried to make people use the alternate hashtag #nextconf at 10:56, but this call to action was not followed.


So, what’s the learning? I doubt that the change of hashtag works for a big event while it is savely on its way. People won’t follow. However, it really seems to be necessary to have a team of spam reporters standing by if necessary. In this case, it seemed to work.

Do you have any other suggestions/hints to share…?