Audit: Millions of Trump's Twitter followers are fake

by Garry Watts June 1, 2017, 0:42

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the only politician other than President Donald Trump who is among the 50 most followed people on Twitter.

More recently, however, attention has focused on the fact that Trump's already large Twitter following appears to have increased substantially, and that many of these new followers seem to be "bots" or automated accounts.

When Trump had 24.1 million followers in February, by comparison, just 5 million of them were egg accounts, according to Social Rank. As of 29 January 2017, 73 percent of Trump's followers were authentic Twitter users. It has grown by about 7 million since February, the site said, and more than half of those accounts appear to be fake. Fake Twitter accounts usually have no picture, tweets or followers and freakish, nonsensical handles.

Accounts that follow Trump that are likely bots have no profile photo, unusual screen names, and were created within the last few months. The comedian Joe Mande now has a healthy 1.01 million followers, but his bio contains a caveat: "twitter is trash, facebook's the devil, i bought a million followers for like $400 none of this shit matters antarctica is melting".

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Donald Trump's Twitter account is arguably the most controversial and most talked-about account on the social media platform, so it is understandable why he has such a huge Twitter following (being the president of the United States probably helps too).

If the number of followers on Twitter is any yardstick for measuring someone's popularity, it may be an extremely flawed measure, according to data thrown up by a website that claims to check how many of those followers are real. Some of these accounts can be created by real people and some can be created by computers - the last types are known as 'bots'. "Immediately, I knew that I had found my calling".

While an avid user of Twitter, Trump has never reached the number of followers that former President Barack Obama has. "The simplest way to tell who's winning the Twitter game is by counting followers", he wrote.

However, Trump has had an influx in followers since he took office.


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