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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

Tennessee fan appeared to use bot farm to take down Stetson Bennett

Stetson Bennett ready to throw

Oct 10, 2020; Athens, Georgia, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Stetson Bennett (13) passes the ball against the Tennessee Volunteers during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was named a Heisman Trophy finalist but Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was not. That was viewed as a very controversial decision and apparently sent one Vols fan into a frenzy.

Shortly after Heisman finalists were announced, someone apparently paid a Twitter bot farm was paid to take down Bennett. Hundreds of tweets, all sharing the exact same message, suddenly appeared.

“Stetson Bennett isn’t even the best player on his own team, maybe not even close. Hendon Hooker transformed our entire team and program. He is our best and most important player,” the spam tweets read. “What do they base the vote off of?”

Bot farms are automated accounts that are run by an organization (or a single individual). They can be paid to help advance a desired message and/or attack a specific person, entity, or business. They often run thousands of accounts and either tweet the same message or retweet it in order to trick Twitter’s algorithm. It also helps populate the platform with the same message and create a regional or national trend.

There was an understandable backlash to Bennett getting the New York invite over Hooker, but paying a bot farm is next level. That seems awfully extreme for an otherwise inconsequential Heisman vote. But even Bennett shared in the criticism.

“I don’t think it’s fair to Hendon. He’s a great player,” Bennett said, via Dawgs247. “I think he should be getting respect for the year that he had and not what could have been but what wasn’t. He almost — not single-handedly — but was a main factor in that program changing course, you know? That’s always silly to me. As far as me getting hate for it, it doesn’t bother me really. I didn’t make that call.”

Ultimately, the bot farm purchase was money wasted. USC’s Caleb Williams, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, TCU’s Max Duggan and Bennett are all headed to New York and despite the effort, Hooker is not.

The Heisman winner will be announced on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

H/T: Barstool Sports

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