President Trump continues to falsely bemoan "paid protestors," but he seems to have no issue with the fake crowd that comprises his Twitter audience: More than half of his 54.7 million Twitter followers are not real, a new analysis has found.
The online marketing company SparkToro conducted the analysis, releasing the results on Tuesday: 61 percent of Trump's followers are likely fake.
Many celebrities and politicians have recently been criticized for artificially inflating their social-media followings with paid followers. Trump is not the only politician who engages in the practice. But he has a significantly higher percentage of fake followers than comparably prominent politicos.
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For example, SparkToro found that out of former President Obama’s 103 million followers, 40.9 percent were not real, while 43.8 percent of Hillary Clinton’s 23.5 million followers were also likely bots or inactive. The company also found that 41.5 percent of Vice President Mike Pence’s 6.65 million followers were probably fake, as were 41 percent of former Vice President Al Gore’s, 33.7 percent of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s and 50 percent of California Governor Jerry Brown's, reported Newsweek.
To arrive at their conclusion, SparkToro analyzed all 54 million accounts that follow President Trump. They assigned each a score from 1 (low quality) to 10 (high quality). Low-quality accounts had "signals" of being a bot or spam, such as a long period of inactivity, the Twitter "egg" avatar as a profile picture, or an uncommonly large number of tweets sent each day.
“More than 35% of @realdonaldtrump’s followers are accounts that trigger 10+ different spam/fake follower signals (and thus have the lowest possible quality score, “1”),” the company's report read. “When compared to the distributions of other accounts, it seems likely that @realdonaldtrump acquired significantly more of these highly unusual and suspicious followers than others. We can speculate about why, but these numbers can make you feel confident in saying that the account likely reaches far less than half of the follower number reported by Twitter (at least, on that platform).”
It was previously reported that Trump seemed to be adding fake Twitter followers as his presidency progressed. In May 2017, a similar Twitter audit showed that 49 percent of Trump's 30 million followers were fake, and he had added 8.3 million fake followers since January of that year.