An audit of the 2016 presidential hopefuls’ Twitter accounts shows Democratic Party frontrunner Hillary Clinton with the largest share of possible fake accounts – roughly 41 percent of her 4.65 million followers.
In numbers, that’s nearly two million.
The Washington Examiner first reported the TwitterAudit findings; the tool actually analyzes social media accounts for obvious tip-offs of false followers. One sign: If the account has a low number of tweets. Another: If the account only has a few followers.
TwitterAudit then takes those factors and feeds them into a metric to develop an authenticity score, Breitbart reported.
Even the developers of TwitterAudit admit its findings aren’t foolproof. But for accounts with large numbers of followers, like Clinton’s, the findings can still prove insightful and interesting.
As Breitbart reported: “It almost seems like an arms race because everyone has a lot of fakes. The threshold for ‘real’ popularity is estimated at a mere 60 percent of authentic followers, a standard Clinton’s account narrowly fails to meet. But even the two most ‘real’ followings in the Washington Examiner’s report, senators Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul, had 10 and 21 percent fake followers, respectively. Sanders has 821,000 followers, so if he’s 90 percent real, that means he’s got about 82,000 false followers.”
Among Republicans, Gov. Chris Christie was found with the most fake followers, at 36 percent. Donald Trump and Ben Carson came in close seconds, with 34 percent each, Breitbart said.
The report is not to say the candidates purposely added fake followers to their accounts.
As Breitbart pointed: “There’s no way to tell where the fake accounts come from and no conclusive evidence they are created or paid for by the candidates or their campaign staff. There are services that sell bundles of fake followers, along with plenty of advice from social media analysts to resist the temptation to use them. There is no easy way a politician could prevent outside parties from attaching flocks of false followers to his or her account.”