The social media platform’s founders go to their next investor meeting boasting about all of the new accounts on their platform. They get more funding and everyone is happy.
Marketing efforts are now directed to target real people. When real people join the platform, the startup team members (or their virtual assistants) engage with the human users to insure they enjoy using the platform and receive a lot of engagement on their posts.
In the marketing campaigns, the startup team showcases the growth hackers as if they are powerful influencers on that platform (Oh you don’t know John Pineapple? He’s an up and coming influencer with a huge following on our platform. Guess you need to join to see his amazing posts.)
The platform gets traction and passes critical mass. There are now more humans than bots and 100s of new users are joining everyday. The platform has officially“gone viral”. Novice marketers who are less experienced with using bots covertly start spamming the heck out of human users on the site.
The human users get annoyed with the bots spamming them. The platform’s founders make the platform bot proof (re-captcha, phone number verification, random questions each time the user logs in).
This is why Twitter had a few key people loose 1,000s of followers July 2018. This was not the first time it happened. It is the circle of life in the startup world of social platforms.