The New York Times had an interesting feature over the weekend in which it calls out various social media influencers for follower fraud. Many people who appear to have huge Twitter followings actually don’t, and their fans are in fact paid-for bots. Oooh, busted! Apparently there’s a class of people who make a career out of being popular on Twitter, and it is terribly scandalous that they are not as cool as they might seem. […]
The NYTimes analysis is compelling, but their target account selection was awfully limited. So I reproduced their Twitter tool to continue the investigation.
This is pretty cool. I’ve told this story before, but a few years back we ran a story on AbsolutePunk.net about how a certain band member in a certain band had most certainly paid for followers on Twitter. His (very mature) response was to buy a bunch of followers on my account. To this day I don’t really know how many were part of that (I tried to block and report a bunch of them at the time), but I do know that once my account got “verified” I see random, clearly bot, accounts start following me all the time.