Transfer deadline day. A day that Britain's football fans collectively lose their shit, to focus all their attention on sports journos furiously speculative tweets and make sweeping generalisations about the futures of their fav players. Evidently, Los Campesinos! frontman, Gareth Paisey, picked up on this and thought it'd be an excellent day to abuse that massive verified tick on his Twitter account to troll the football internetz. With a quick profile pic change and the confidence that enraged footie fans probably aren't going to be the type to investigate if tweets are actually from the singer from a gentle indie band, he got away with posing as respected football journalist Martin Samuel.
He's since owned up, though not before gleefully pointing out the fruits of his Twitter troll game:
STATS: over 2,500 RTs. Trending #1 (Reina to Arsenal) and #9 (Martin Samuel) in the UK, #4 Worldwide. Gained over 2,000 (temp) followers :)
— Gareth David (@grthdvd) January 31, 2013
So, I rang Gareth up to A) give him a slap on the back B) ask him why he did it.
Noisey: So, how did you come up with the idea?
Gareth: People go pretty crazy on deadline day, so changing my name to a respected sports journalist would mean I can mess about with loads of people. It was just a nice joke though really.
Yeah, people go mental on deadline day
That’s right, they want to believe anything. I wish I’d have given it a few days planning so that I could of taken it further, I did actually think about doing it earlier in the month but I left it to the last day when people go most crazy. People want to believe anything they read, and they’ll read something and pass it off as their own. People always want have the first opinion on things, if music gets leaked, it’s a race to see who can have the first tweet about it. It’s the same with football rumours, there are loads of football accounts that take themselves seriously and think that they're real journalists.
Having that little tick gives you a licence to be who you want to be, and people will believe it.
Yeah, that little tick system is a bit stupid. I guess it’s to stop people from pretending to be someone they're not, but no one is going to pretend to be me. I just woke up one morning and I had one, a couple of the other band had them but not all of them, its weird. I guess it’s a decent chat up line I could use one day.
I saw a few of the tweets you did, Reina to Arsenal and so on. Fairly believable, did you think about starting any more out there rumours, Messi to QPR perhaps?
Well, the aim was to keep it as believable as possible really, so Messi wouldn’t be believed. That’s why I chose Martin Samuel because he’s trusted and he has spoken out in the past about deadline day. He once said that Joey Barton should come out as gay, so there was no chance of defamation of character. I have a few friends in sports journalism, one at Eurosport, they gave me a plug so I managed to get 200 more followers in 5 minutes. There were a few of his colleagues at the Daily Mail who tried to out me but they were a bit late. The funniest thing that happened was someone tweeted saying they had put £100 on Reina to Arsenal based on a Martin Samuels tip off.
HAHAHA poor guy. You had any contact with Martin?
No, not yet…
What team do you support?
Well I support my local team, but in the premiership it’s Man United. So pissing off the Liverpudlians is always fun.
How do you plan to use Twitter in the future? You have the power to fool people with the tick. And how about your band mates, are they going to get on it too?
Yeah, well my band mates think I spend too much time on Twitter so it’s unlikely they will do anything. Maybe next year if people have forgotten I’ll do it again, but we’ll see.
Have Twitter been in touch to give you a bollocking?
Nah, not really, I got a few pretty serious messages saying I was misusing the service, but who gives a fuck really? I mean the worst thing is the amount of abuse I realised these people get. For a few hours I was Martin Samuel and the abuse is mental, really personal, they made digs at his body, hair…it was horrible!
You must have had quite a lot of emails, and notifications
It was crazy man, my phone broke, it just froze, it couldn’t handle the updates. I have my notifications turned off but it still managed to overpower my phone. It managed to get on to so many news feeds, and sports channels. It even got onto Fox news, shows their quality of research though doesn’t it.
So you were just enjoying it the whole time, did you ever get worried you’d taken it too far?
It was a laugh really, we all had a fun day, it was exciting and it beat anything on the TV that day so I think it was fun. I was just so surprised at the extent of it.
THANKS GARETH! Strong troll_face.jpeg moves bruh!