During the Home Run Derby a Twitter account I follow asked its audience whether they would try to get away with using a corked bat since they don't break that often. Tweeting questions can engage an audience, replies can initiate a conversation and increase visibility, so I tweeted back: "@aaronESPN1005: Never. Honestly is always the best policy".

Several days later an account I follow retweeted another ethical concern regarding an interview with retired pitcher John Smoltz where he discussed the 160 innings limit placed on the Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg. Smoltz's controversial advice to Strasburg suggested that there were ways to work the system. When @MLBSportsReport asked its followers for feedback on the issue, my reply tweet stated that it was probably good advice for Strasburg, but the inauthenticity risk wasn't worth it.

Throughout the day I read @MLBSportsReport tweets. One tweet welcomed the official Atlanta Braves PR account to Twitter. New accounts are constantly being created, however since the Atlanta Braves rely on social media to promote their team and increase ticket sales, the idea that they had just opened this account did not ring true.

Later that same evening, a retweet by @MonkeyWithAHalo caught my eye. An attached link led to an article about an account that plagiarized tweets. By the time I was finished reading it I was furious, embarrassed, and disillusioned. Baseball blogger @JoeCNC, whose investigative efforts unveiled @MLBSportsReport, revealed several other puppet accounts that had been used to support @MLBSportsReport. These accounts claimed to have won tickets and other prizes, they also retweeted tweets, and encouraged others to follow.

After they were uncovered @MLBSportsReport changed their status to a protected account. Although they continued to tweet their volume was down. They also blocked the people who had exposed them. User @CraigDesign, who had contributed to the @MLBSportsReport campaign, raised an interesting point about tweet ownership. Tweet stealing is a risk all Twitter account owners take, as with any breaking story everyone will have their own version. This is different than someone copying and pasting instead of retweeting.

Proving that someone stole a fact or an idea is difficult in this age of information where so many have access to the world wide web. Instead of admitting to a wrong, @MLBSportsReport has changed their name to @FanMLBReport. They have also included a disclaimer that they are not in any way affiliated with MLB. The account has been reported for spam, but is still promoting a contest where retweeters can win tickets to the World Series which aren't currently available for sale. Initially I had closed this post by urging people to report this account for spam. Currently, a search for this account yields no results, proving that Twitter has been effective at shutting this imposter down, hopefully, for good.


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