If you were following the news the last couple of days, you may have heard about the Facebook fake accounts issue. Now a new controversy is brewing around fake Twitter followers.
Bill Rundle, who handles PR for Microsoft New Zealand, detailed an experiment in a blog post in which he bought 2,000 fake followers for just $12.50 per 1,000. While his blog post is mostly about ethics and how prominent personalities are inflating their Twitter follower numbers in this way to assert influence, he does point to an interesting service run by social media management software provider Status People.
Status People has released a tool that shows the number of “fake” and “inactive” followers a Twitter user has. Fake Follower Check takes the most recent 500 followers and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria such as their follower to following ratio, and how actively followers post new content. When the number that these accounts are following far exceeds the number of their followers and the activity is low, Status People flags this as a fake account.
According to Status People, the tool provides very accurate insight into your account if you have 10,000 followers or less. “If you're very 'popular' the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base”, it says.
The great thing about Fake Follower Check is that it allows people to check upon other people’s Twitter accounts. This is important as it helps you differentiate between people who have real influence and fakers – the people who buy followers in a vain attempt to build legitimacy.
"Look at me I have 20,000 followers, I must know my..." They are essentially trying to game the system and it's important for you to be able to spot them, and steer clear of them. Because ultimately if you're willing to lie about how many friends you have you are not a very trustworthy individual.