Safaricom Acknowledges That Bots “Had Won Prizes” On Online Promotions

Twitter Bots

This is not strange, it’s quite normal considering what’s at stake and something that was bound to happen anyway. Individuals using bots on several Twitter accounts to increase their chances of winning in the various promotional competitions availed by corporates and small companies on social media. It has happened to many but the big man is the easy one to pin and point fingers at.

Safaricom was implicated by a Twitter user of running bots to pose as winners in their promotions held online. Something that the telco vehemently denies, understandably. For such a big company to run such a small scam it’s not even sensible, but for the individuals who would wish to get the phones being given in the promotions it’s totally expected. Not getting Safaricom out of the woods yet, but well they needed to to some audit as this was quite easy to tell. That the participants and winners looked fishy going by their Twitter accounts that looked in every way buses built specifically for the campaigns wins.

Just like some here were built to respond positively to government criticism some time back.

Now Safaricom through the Director of Corporate Affairs have taken it upon them to acknowledge and apologize for this and of course this means they will be vigilant going forward that they award actual humans. A few Twitter users, upon the apology came out to say that they had seen a similar trend when they did their promotions on social media, so this is not in any way unique to Safaricom.

See below the statement by Safaricom.

“We wish to address online customer complaints in relation to our recently concluded ‘SafFunFriday’ social media promotion. Following a thorough audit of all the activities involved in the running and subsequent evaluation of the short list for the winners we have established that the social media activation was compromised by one or possibly several of tech-savvy individuals who deployed “internet bots” to increase their chances of winning in the competition. 

Internet bots are online applications that perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a person to do alone. This translated to a single user being able to increase their chances of winning during online promotions; the equivalent of registering several times under different names to participate a competition in real life. We have further established that the same bots have been used in several other social media based competitions ran by other organizations.

We accept the fact that we should have been more vigilant in identifying the use of these “bots” by unscrupulous persons and we apologize unreservedly  for any inconvenience that those competing fairly in the said online promotion may have suffered.  We wish to assure all our followers on Twitter that we have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that this does not happen again during any of our future online promotions.”

Nzioka Waita

Director, Corporate Affairs,

Safaricom Limited.

IMG Credit: ittybittiesforyou, Flickr