The internet is a dark and full of terrors — that is to say, it's full of nooks and crannies, and it's pretty easy to pull off a successful scam. Just ask the guys on Catfish. You can fake a lot of things online, including your age, your face, your location, your net worth, and even, interestingly, your Twitter following.
This is a fairly well-known fact — you can purchase Twitter followers from a number of places. However, there's a renewed interest in the "fake followers" phenom after Newsweek revealed that our president has over 15 million fake followers. That's a lot of faceless eggs.
This prompted Digital Spy's inquiry into another highly-followed Twitter account: Katy Perry's. In January of 2016, Perry earned the distinction of being the most followed person on Twitter. Sigh — how naïve we were then. According to Digital Spy's analysis, only 32% of Perry's followers are actually real. The rest are fake bots, created to boost Perry's social media clout.
The numbers are staggering. Perry has 99.2 million followers, of which 67 million are "filler." Again: That's a lot of fake followers. She's not the most followed person on Twitter! (The actual numbers show her as the ninth most followed person on Twitter, which isn't too shabby. But still.)
All of this research is courtesy of Twitteraudit.com, a convenient, although not a 100% reliable tool. The website analyses Twitter followings by taking a large sample size and delving into the activity of various followers.
As per the site itself: "Each audit takes a sample of up to 5000 (or more, if you subscribe to Pro) Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends." Even TwitterAudit admits that the analysis isn't "perfect." In addition, it's important to note that not all Twitter bots are purchased followers. Some are just that: Twitter bots.
Other Twitter giants fared better under audit. TwitterAudit told Jezebel that Madonna has a swell 74% and Mariah Carey has 60%. My own research shows that Barack Obama has a decent 65%.
The lesson we're taking from this TwitterAudit? Trust no one on the internet. Oh, and Barack Obama has more real Twitter followers than Donald Trump.