A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how 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," said Rob Waller, a founder of StatusPeople. "We then combine that with a few other metrics to confirm the account is fake."
Notes the Times:
If accurate, the number of fake followers out there is surprising. 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.
The practice of buying followers is surprisingly easy. A Google search for “buy Twitter followers” turns up dozens of Web sites like USocial.net, InterTwitter.com, and FanMeNow.com that sell Twitter followers by the thousands (and often Facebook likes and YouTube views).
|Obama Follower, John Doe|
It generally costs between one and five cents to buy a follower. Celebrities like President Obama often buy followers to create the impression that they are more popular than they really are.
This can sometimes help sway voters who are undecided. They see this huge number of followers and think "he must be good, look at all the followers he has."