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Are 70% of Obama’s followers fake? No.

by Zach Green on August 28, 2012

in Twitter followers

I feel a bit responsible for this crazed obsession with fake followers permeating the press. It all began with a strange follower spike Mitt Romney experienced last month. Now it has come to a head with a new app by StatusPeople.

Depending on where you read about it, between 30% to 70% of Obama’s followers are Fake. The problem? StatusPeople only checks 1000 followers, and Obama has almost 19 million. From their site:

How does it work?
We take a sample of your follower data. Up to 1,000 records depending on how ‘popular’ you are and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria.

That’s 0.0053% of Obama’s followers. Not exactly statistically significant. Moreover, Obama gets around 35,000 new followers each day. You can get different results 35 times a day depending when you look, hence the variation in news coverage.

How many fake followers does Obama have? Nobody knows. As StatusPeople’s Rob Waller told Mashable: “It would be impossible to crunch all the follower data that Obama has in a reasonable manner via the Twitter API.”

Fake Followers is a great headline, but it isn’t backed up by any real data. StatusPeople may work for your account, but it just can’t analyze the third largest account on Twitter accurately.

As a fun side-note, 87% of @StatusPeople’s followers are fake according to their own app. Hmmm…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous August 28, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I think a better question to ask is, how many of his followers live within the U.S. and how many are abroad… i think the answer may surprise you.

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Zach Green August 29, 2012 at 10:44 am

More of Obama’s followers are outside the U.S., which makes sense since he is the President and an international figure.

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