A small amount of links being posted in many of the top hashtags on Twitter are reportedly links to Bilibili Comics content. They are unrelated to the hashtags they are being posted in.
Four days ago, Twitter started to receive a flood of links posted in tweets that apparently link to the Bilibili Comics website and its mobile version. Drillimation is declaring this an “outbreak.” While users are reporting these to Twitter for spam and containing unrelated hashtags, it could take days for Twitter to detect and remove these tweets.
Who is responsible for this, and how is this happening? Bilibili Comics is an online manga, manhua, and manhwa reader app created by the Chinese video-sharing platform Bilibili. Webtoons are really popular in South Korea and are becoming more prevalent across the globe.
Twitter user Fisher King (@fisherking_81) apparently figured out how these bots are spreading on the site. It appears to be relying on a type of social engineering referred to as an “automated social engineering attack”. The Bilibili Comics app appears to have a share widget that shows a preview of the text commonly used in the spam tweets. Once set up, unrelated hashtags will fill the tweet if there’s any room left. This is automated by the app and the user does not select them.
Twitter user @Yoshifan641 put up a quick guide on how to avoid them. It is recommended the search be “(phrase) -url:bilibilicomics.com -url:m.bilibilicomics.com”, which will filter out all tweets containing the two URLs.
Bot Sentinel is a useful tool that can detect bots on Twitter. It categorizes bots into four categories: Normal, Satisfactory, Disruptive, and Problematic. It also lists how many accounts were added, suspended, or even reactivated all within today’s date.
This problem on Twitter is highly alarming. The number of tweets like this can be equivalent to the average number of tweets that link to a news website’s articles. Drillimation has contacted Twitter for comment but did not receive a response.