While having a huge number of followers on Twitter might be an indicator of personal clout, given that the current times hugely favour exhibitionism, according to the latest report compiled by Shield Square a start-up with offices in Bangalore and the US; fake followers might have something to do with the bulging of these numbers in many instances.
According to them , the report is a good way to find out if someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means. The report works by taking a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculating a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. These scores are used to determine whether any given user is real or fake.
Fake followers and bots are an epidemic on online at large. Shield Square helps businesses detect and block harmful bots on their websites. Author and analyst with Shield Square, Benjamin Kumar says, “It is a known fact that bots make up 50 percent of the internet traffic. According to Shield Square, 30 percent of the total Web traffic a popular online media site receives is from comment spam.”
"While we will not comment on the results of this dubious report, we can confirm that it is not officially from Twitter. In general, fake followers are covered by our Spam Policy located here: https://support.twitter.com/articles/18311. Any account that is reported to us as Spam will be reviewed and can be suspended/terminated if found violating our Spam Policy." Said a Twitter Spokesperson reacting to this report.
This report was co-founded by David Caplan, who refers to himself as a hacker, scientist and a startup addict. Speaking on the issue Caplan was cited by the Democracy Chronicles as saying, “Fake followers are a mix of inactive Twitter users (who signed up but never log on), completely fake users that are created for the sole purpose of following people and spam bots that are programmatically set up to tweet ads and malicious content.”
“Fake followers aren’t inherently bad. They are just a dishonest form of using social media. They can be leveraged to inflate someone’s reputation. People will most likely follow someone who already has many followers, so buying followers is a way to boost your follower count in the future. Fake followers can also be used to commit fraud in the sense that you can inflate the value of your Twitter account for advertising purposes without creating any real value,” Caplan further added.
Here is what the report has to say about the fake and real followers of some of India’s most followed Twitter accounts. A green thumbs up means there are more real followers, an orange thumbs up means the algorithm finds it hard to decide how many are real and fake, and red means there are definitely more fake followers than real ones.
As is apparent from the finding of the report, the top 12 most followed accounts from India have a total followership of 226,204,520. Out of that, 42 percent are fake followers. Surprisingly, Virat Kohli, Akshay Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan have 59 %, 57 % and 54% fake followers respectively.