Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Is your favourite pop star dipping into the social media black market?

There are several possible reasons why a pop act or any other social media user for that matter could suddenly see a huge surge in Twitter followers. For instance, thousands of people may decide to follow a person on the …

Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 09:49

   

There are several possible reasons why a pop act or any other social media user for that matter could suddenly see a huge surge in Twitter followers.

For instance, thousands of people may decide to follow a person on the back of some news story or event. No doubt, the numbers following Irish Olympic athletes grew rapidly in the last fortnight.

In some cases, though, the rise in followers is down to that person engaging in the murky trade of buying Twitter followers. There are sites where payment of $14 will add 1,000 fake followers to your name and allow you to pass yourself off as a Twitter boss.

It will strike many as sheer stupidity that someone will go to the trouble of spending money acquiring fake followers. But in the world of social media, where appearance often counts more than substance, there are many who believe that more followers equates to more fame and status and thus they’ll go to ridiculous lengths to acquire fake followers.

For those looking to bust the fakers, StatusPeople’s Fake Follower is a new web app tool which calculates what percentage of a user’s followers are fakes. While most Twitter accounts have a small percentage of faker followers thanks to spam bots at large – four per cent of The Ticket’s @thetwicket account’s followers are fakes, for instance – there are others with much higher percentages.

Fast Company and blogger Zach Bussey recently put a couple of high profile Twitter users, ones who’ve gained unusually huge numbers of followers in a short space of time, to the test. They discovered several Twitter users with large numbers of followers to their credit were actually being followed by up to 80 per cent fakes. Very much a case of caveat emptor.