Hot topic du jour: Fake Twitter followers. Mitt Romney caught a lot of flak for a marked increase in Twitter followers recently, so when I found out that StatusPeople developed a tool to assess how many of any account’s followers are fake I was interested to understand how fair the press coverage was about this (this was before he committed a couple of foreign policy gaffes that muted the Twitter talk for now). What I found was rather surprising.
I should note that this tool assesses 500 followers for each account, with a preference towards newer followers. StatusPeople makes the disclaimer that for larger accounts this is not as accurate (presumably because large additions of followers would likely come in a surge which wouldn’t be detectable by their sampling method). That said…..
17% of Mitt Romney’s followers may be fake
But 41% of Barack Obama’s followers may be fake, too
Moment of truth – what about me?
Phew! I’d hate to think that some of my favorite people in the Twittersphere were fake. Yet, despite my white hat approach, my 13.8K followers pale in comparison to Mitt Romney’s 384K “real” followers and Barack Obama’s 2.4 million “real” followers.
The takeaway is that Mitt Romney isn’t playing by an entirely different social handbook than any other politician – he just got caught adding followers when the variables disappeared (each campaign was suspended the weekend following the Colorado theater shootings). That said, there still a quantitative difference between Barack Obama’s Twitter followers and Mitt Romney’s, and it will be interesting to see how that affects the election in the fall.
And for extra fun, you should check out the Wall of Shame that StatusPeople developed to out their worst offenders.