Fun With Twitter: Fake Stephen A. Smith Fools Real ESPN Personalities
Another example of why you can never be too careful on Twitter.
So there is this phony Stephen A. Smith account on Twitter, @StephenASmifh – note the “F” in lieu of the “T” in “Smith”. A quirk similar to the “RN” instead of the “M” in @AdarnSchefter. The account was created a couple of weeks ago and he was raring to troll. So on June 26, Mr. “Smifh” had “reported” that “Deron Williams has agreed to a 5-year deal with the Mavs.” A few hours later, he would receive his highest retweet total to date when he announced that “the great Kevin Garnett has decided to retire,” with a presser scheduled for the following day.
That following day, June 27, the real Stephen A. Smith took notice. “Who’s been reporting FALSE trade rumors,” he tweeted. “I have not reported anything. I am NOT covering the NBA Draft. Please be advised IT’S NOT ME!” Mr. “Smifh”, troll that he is, replied: ‘I don’t see a fake Stephen A. Smith anywhere.”
And so, Mr. “Smifh” kept getting after it, tweeting and trolling. And then on Saturday afternoon, he achieved an accomplishment even better than being recognized by the ESPN personality that he’s impersonating: One of his tweets was actually retweeted by actual ESPN personalities.
The first victim was Andrew Brandt, whose bio lists him as an NFL business analyst for ESPN, as well as an NFL columnist for ESPN.com. He retweeted the following tweet sent in the 3 PM ET hour: “This morning at Team USA workouts, LeBron James left with an apparent knee injury. Sources say it’s a torn ACL. MRI scheduled for Monday. Wow.”
Of course, the real “wow” in this case was how a real ESPN employee would retweet a phone ESPN colleague – especially since his own bio says it’s “the fake Stephen A. Smith.”
“Sorry for last retweet,” Brandt told his followers. “Fake account. My bad.”
But wait, as they say on the Ron Popeil commercials, there’s more: We have proof of a more visible ESPN personality, Doug Gottlieb, retweeting Mr. “Smifh” and his LeBron James injury news. Gottlieb undid the retweet – but not the aftermath:
Not sure what the “News Desk at ESPN” had to do with this matter…
And if what one listener of ESPN Radio in Chicago is saying is correct, that ESPN outlet also got fooled by the fake Stephen A.’s LeBron James injury news.
I can attest to this: Before the retweets, Mr. “Smifh” had between 100 and 200 followers. The retweets practically amplified the number of “Smifh” followers fivefold.