From trolling to profiting: How Howard Schultz became the subject of so many Twitter ‘fans’

Howard Schultz’s announcement in January that he was considering running for president as an independent may have been met with chuckles and eye rolls from pundits, but on Twitter, political operatives, trolls and profiteers saw an opportunity.

Within days of the announcement, Twitter was home to fan accounts that seemed to span every demographic, praising the coffee executive’s possible campaign and vowing support. Along with general anonymous fan accounts, profiles claiming to represent moderates, Republicans, men, women and white and black voters all jumped on the billionaire’s bandwagon.

But, as many Twitter users suspected, some of Schultz’s fan accounts were not the grassroots supporters they claimed to be.