Say It Ain’t So, Joe…That’s a Lot of Fake Followers!
Ken Wisnefski, May 20, 2022
The recent revelation by SparkToro that roughly half of all President Joe Biden’s Twitter followers at the official @POTUS account are fake or inactive users, while approximately 14 million of the 34 million followers at the @JoeBiden account are also fake. Many people are asking, “how can this be?” but the notion of fake accounts is something that plagues all social media platforms.
With Elon Musk’s recent interest in acquiring Twitter and the headlines that the potential acquisition has gathered, the most intriguing point is that Musk has openly questioned the legitimacy of how many of the reported Twitter users are real and how many are fake. Twitter would like you to believe that under 5% of their accounts are fake, but I think anyone in the digital industry could quickly tell you that number is much higher. Musk wants to revise his offer based on the actual number of “real” users, and that’s where the stalemate continues.
20% fake/spam accounts, while 4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 17, 2022
My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate.
Yesterday, Twitter's CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%.
This deal cannot move forward until he does.
The utilization of fake accounts on social media has become somewhat of a cottage industry. The ability to purchase follows from these fake accounts is something you can quickly locate during a Google search, but the question is, what’s the value in having fake users follow your account? The answer is simple, in today’s world, the number of followers that someone has on social media can influence many into just how valuable their opinion is. The more followers, the notion is the more valuable that person is, and if that person is viewed as having a valued idea, the more likely it is that others will view their profile as that much more authoritative.
While I sincerely don’t believe Joe Biden himself was behind any sort of scheme to increase his Twitter following, I do feel relatively certain that the tactic of acquiring “fake” followers was a strategy utilized by his team to increase his social media presence. It was reported that the @POTUS account gained 5 million followers in the 24 hours that Joe Biden was inaugurated as President. Some credited that surge to pure interest in the new President, but others found that steep increase puzzling - myself included. Looking back now, how many of those were genuine and how many were fake? If you stuck with the data, you’d have to assume half of those weren’t real.
Growing an authentic audience is difficult but in doing so, you build a community of followers that are there and engaged in what you or your brand have to say. With all the recent press about the fake accounts, it only places more emphasis on doing things the right way and not taking any shortcuts. Real social media success comes from engaging your genuine thoughts with real…. not fake accounts.