Bot Takeover Prompts Private Castle24

Bot Takeover Prompts Private Castle24

How does it feel to know that hundreds of bots have tickets to Hyde and you don’t?

The Castle24 Facebook group has been invaded – not by freshers, but by hundreds of bot accounts claiming to sell tickets to the Hyde St Party. What started as a trickle of scammers has turned into a shit storm of hundreds of bots in the lead-up to Hyde, leaving students confused about who to trust. The significant increase led Castle24 admins to post on April 16th, “Hey guys just working on removing all the bots. This acc will now be private.”

Bot accounts first appeared in the page before Baseline, but the lead up to Hyde drastically increased the amount of fake accounts. One post asking for tickets attracted a whopping 131 comments at the time of writing. There are just under 9,000 members in the public Facebook group, a number that’s been steadily growing since the start of the year. 

The Castle24 admin’s initial strategy to combat the bots was to “check who’s reported people and then I remove them, when I have spare time.” However, they told Critic Te Ārohi that the influx has made it “super frustrating.” In general, they said, “There tends to be fluctuations when there’s ticketed events going on, since there’s so many bots it takes so long to remove them. I’ve noticed a trend that when you click their profile they’re usually family photos, older looking people, or they have no posts. They also tend to use no slang.” 

The admin also gave a shout out to their favourite bot, saying, “If you’re out there ‘Beauty Dennis’ I’m coming for you, and your 12 Hyde and Coachella tickets.” Better lock your doors, Dennis. Another example of a bot's flamboyant behaviour was ‘Ashleigh Anderson’ trying to sell her four tickets to Olivia Rodrigo’s New York Concert the day it was happening – 15,000 km away. Other highlights included a bot who “surprised” their husband with Hyde tickets, but he had beaten her to it – ending up with two extra to sell. Double date with the bots anyone? Critic Te Ārohi would also like to make a special shout out to the bots who stated the tickets were for their “family” who could not make it anymore. RIP.

OUSA President Keegan Wells hadn’t heard of the bots, as “a proud non-member of the Castle page being a sixth-year student.” But she did comment that, “It doesn’t surprise me.” Quizzically she argued that “it could speak to the infiltration of bots in our everyday lives and in the Critic office.” You heard it here first, folks: Critic’s written by bots.

Proposals that the Facebook group will go private have not eventuated at the time of print.

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2024.
Posted 8:14pm Sunday 21st April 2024 by Gryffin Powell.