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Someone is lying - 70 percent of Obama's 19 million Twitter followers are fake

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 28th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to a new Web tool, President Obama's Twitter account has allegedly 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them are nonexistent. In fact, the new Web tool has determined that 70 percent of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers."

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to the New York Times, Twitter followers can be purchased.

"The practice has become so widespread that StatusPeople, a social media management company in London, released a Web tool last month called the Fake Follower Check that it says can ascertain how many fake followers you and your friends have," the Times reports.

"Fake accounts tend to follow a lot of people but have few followers," Rob Waller, a founder of StatusPeople says. "We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake."

If this accounting is accurate, the number of fake followers out there is alarmingly high. According to the StatusPeople tool, 71 percent of Lady Gaga's nearly 29 million followers are "fake" or "inactive." So are 70 percent of President Obama's nearly 19 million followers.

On the other side of the coin, Republican opponent Mitt Romney has far fewer Twitter followers, not quite 900,000, but it's reasonable to believe that some of them are fake as well. Both Romney and Obama campaigns have denied buying Twitter followers.

"Since our blog 'Are you a Twitter Faker' things have gone a bit nuclear!" the tool says on its Web site. "Over 30,000 people have signed up to our tool and they have run 50,000 checks.

"So where did this all start? We've known for a while that purchasing Twitter followers is possible. But this issue really exploded when tech publication The Kernel did a feature on Azeem Azhar (CEO of Social Media influence scoring company Peer Index). The article covered how his Twitter follower count had increased by almost 20,000 'people'!

"To give him his due, Azhar came back with a fairly robust response. We can only assume that his singular crime was to be quite na´ve in using his own Twitter account and not creating a fake one to purchase #FakeFollowers.

"Our second concern is that #FakeFollowers can be purchased for other people! Yes, that's right. I can take any Twitter Anchor and purchase thousands of Twitter followers at the click of a button.

"So how easy is it to buy followers? It's extremely easy. Learning from Azeem Azhar, I set up a fake account and purchased 1,000 followers from Social Media Corp for $10. Within 2 hours I had my 1,000 followers. But after a few days I had more than 3,000 followers! This is over 3,000 more followers than my personal Twitter account, which I've had over three 3 years! The hardest part was remembering my PayPal password to make the purchase!" the Web site says.

"So what's the point of all this? Well, we want to make it clear that for businesses there really is no reason to purchase followers in the first place. Although there may be an initial feel good factor and the kudos of showing your MD how well you're doing, the long term affect on more important KPIs -- like influence and reach -- will be negligible. It is these latter scores that will have an effect on web traffic, purchases and ultimately revenue. Not the number of inactive followers you have! We think your MD is going to be far more interested in the revenue number."

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