How to Manipulate the NBA All Star Voting Mechanism

Kumar Thangudu

July 04, 2015

How to Manipulate the NBA All Star Voting Mechanism

I don’t really keep track of sports. Recently, I did an article on how I tried attacking pro-ISIS twitter accounts with twitter bots. I failed miserably with a low CTR.

All Star Voting Can Be Rigged.

The reason I’m publishing this post is that someone that’s remotely smart with tech can manipulate the All Star Team rankings very easily and for very little money.

You Don’t Even Need to Be A Programmer

Even me, a non-programmer could whip up some twitter bots and SMS API’s to wreak my will upon the All Star List, which I won’t do.

My Brother the BasketBall Fan

My brother texted me and asked if I would use my small but versatile twitter bot net, which is no longer existent, to make James Harden a candidate.

The NBA Has Weak Voting Rules

I wanted to look at the rules first though. Here they are below.

These are the lax rules for twitter voting on the NBA All star team.

The simple answer is yes. At first I thought it was only possible with twitter, but now I’m suddenly seeing it’s possible with any one of the 50 SMS API’s.


This means you simply have to send unlimited texts from a rolling set of numbers.

That means for the SMS prices on twilio, that someone could theoretically vote hundreds of times. ($1/phone number ~$0.01/text)

For fun sake let’s run through the numbers.

That means for every $1.39 you spend, you could vote 39 times.

For $10,000, an athlete can buy 280,566 votes via SMS.

Now let’s measure the same thing via twitter.

Let’s assume that $400 buys you 50,000 tweets.

This means that if you can scale up and scale down your bot net fast enough, that you have a lot of votes.

For $10,000, an athlete can buy 1,250,000 votes.

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