Nearly half of Donald Trump's Twitter followers are fake
- Author: Larry Hoffman May 31, 2017,
May 31, 2017, 17:46
Granted, it's pretty easy to buy followers - so Trump may not have actually bought them himself.
Problem is, numerous followers appear to be fake.
It is unusual or at least unprecedented in Twitter's admittedly short history for the sitting president of the United States to buy followers while in office. The majority of them are recently created accounts from May 2017 that are lacking photos or tweets - telltale signs of a fake or bot account. On that account, he has 18.1 million followers.
The president experienced an increase of 2.3 million followers in May, adding approximately 573,000 followers each week. Trump has little control over who follows his tweets.
Each audit takes a sample of up to 5,000 Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. Bots exist and follow accounts for all kinds of reasons. Maybe, as many news outlets have reported, he is chasing Obama's follower count of a whopping 89 million.
It would be very time consuming to investigate every single follower that Trump has, but according to Twitter Audit, nearly half of his 31 million followers are in fact fake. Usually, the bot accounts show no image of a person, just a shadowy outline of a human.
Just over a year ago he had just 7.6 million followers, but only 8% were fake, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Automated Twitter bots are turning into a campaign tool to sway elections, swamping social media with fake news or messages and retweeting anything a candidate posts to suggest a landslide following.