Twitter bots—computer programs designed to produce automated posts on the internet’s premier ubiquitous social networking service —can be used for good or for evil. On the good side, you have this one that’s been continuously sending out a stream of thoughts and prayers to random cities around the U.S. since Sunday’s tragic incident in Orlando. And on the evil side, you have Microsoft’s unintentionally racist online abomination. Then there’s the third type of Twitter bot: the absurdist kind.
Since Tuesday, the account @assbott (aka Pissball Crank) has been waging a war of asininity with Donald Trump’s legions of Twitter fans. Here’s how it works: @realDonaldTrump tweets out one of the dozens of argle-bargle statements he makes every day, and the noble @assbott, following its directives, immediately responds by telling Trump to “Delete your account.” This triggers a number of Trump’s less zen-like followers to respond to @assbott with whatever collection of insults formulates in their heads first. And this is where it gets really fun: @assbott responds to those responses with a scattershot word salad drawn randomly from its creator’s actual Twitter feed.
The results are tremendous. While some people manage to contain their ire to one angry outburst:
Others cannot help but get drawn into a flamewar with the non-sentient algorithm:
“[T]he bot tends to get pretty inflammatory and makes no sense,” Forrest—the single-named Kentucky man behind the ingenious creation—explained to The Daily Beast, ”which I think clearly speaks to the kind of person who supports Trump.”