Are your friends faking it on social media?

Ever wondered if someone with thousands of Twitter followers was faking it? Thanks to a new app from Status People, you can find out who’s buying their followers (or is just besieged by bots).

Fake Follower Check digs through your followers to determine who is fake, inactive, or just plain good. Essentially, it cuts through the BS afforded by inflated follower counts.

You can see my analysis above. There’s no real way to “improve” your score (save for blocking the offending followers), but the app offers great insight into who you’re attracting on Twitter.

In case you’re wondering – yes, I searched a few of the Toronto social media people. Yes, there are some interesting results. I won’t play devil’s advocate (I’ll leave that to Mr. Bussey, xo), but it sure is entertaining to see if your guesses are correct.

UPDATE: Where do we go from here? Time to be better, PR pros.

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  • Hahaha, thanks for the shoutout! Perhaps a “Fakest Socialite” post is indeed in order.

    • I knew you’d jump in with both feet on this one, Zach 😉

      • Everyone on that shit is a fake socialite as it is.. buy away. If no one knows who you are out side of it all then it doesn’t matter one bit really. People get called out once companies realize they are not worth their weight in talk. It’s really cheap!

  • Great post 🙂 Off to perform self-diagnostics now!

    • Thanks! It’s really interesting to self-diagnose here, especially since there’s no real easy way to change your score (save for going in and blocking the bots)

  • Interesting. Being the politics/social media nerd I am, I checked on the US election candidates.

    Obama broke down this way: Fake, 34%; Inactive, 37%; Good, 29%.
    Mitt Romney was a bit different: Fake, 15%; Inactive, 33%, Good, 52%.
    The big difference in the fake/good category makes me wonder: Is Obama’s team buying followers, or are they simply getting a lot more new Twitter followers than Romney?

    Food for thought.

    • I did the same thing, Justin. Great minds…
      The numbers were a bit off for them, especially since there were recent reports that Romney had purchased followers. I don’t think this is foolproof, especially since bots and the like are included.
      Common sense says Obama is a huge target for spammers/fake accounts.


      Stephanie Fusco
      647.338.3154
      @stephaniefusco
      http://www.stephaniefusco.com

    • I had to delete my last reply since my phone number snuck its way in there…

      I did the same thing (great minds), especially in light of recent allegations that Romney had purchased followers. I think what we’re dealing with here is an account that naturally attracts spammers/bots – we both know Obama doesn’t need to purchase followers + his account is probably the first lots of people follow when they join Twitter, whether or not they plan to use it. Obviously this isn’t a foolproof measure, more of an interesting metric (like Klout, I guess), that is best combined with logic.

  • WOAH

  • Amy W

    I gave this a spin just for fun: 2% fake, 6% inactive, 92% good! Yay!

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  • 0% fake 1% inactive and 99% good – happy with that! Useful tool – now to look up the so-called “influencers” I follow….

    • Nice! It’s interesting to look up the oft-flaunted “influencers”. Some just don’t live up to the hype, unsurprisingly..

  • Maria @amotherworld

    This is fabulous! Thanks for sharing.

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  • Interesting toy you’ve found here, Stephanie, and fun to look at. However…

    Really hope that anyone who’s making judgments based on the analysis this site returns reads their “Find Out More” page first. If you read between the lines, the results for accounts that have a lot of followers are less-than-useful.

    It’d be a real shame to see someone set off and defame anyone based solely on what they see there. To be clear, I’m not saying in any way that you’re doing that, Stephanie. But that can IS open and the worms are everywhere.

    • Hi Sean,
      Thanks for stopping by! As you correctly noted, the site uses a sample of about 500 followers to create their ratings. At over 10,000 followers, the site notes that it will most accurately reflect “current” followers. I think this has merit (if only because most people don’t have 10,000 +), especially since it a) still provides a good measure b) would confirm any strange “recent” behaviour if it was suspected.

      I honestly don’t think anyone will get “defamed” based solely on a measure – we all know that social media measurement is a new game and that the measures available (this, Klout, etc) are flawed and to be taken with a grain of salt. If anyone’s going to do that, I’d be the first to say they probably don’t know their stuff.

      Nothing wrong with opening a can of worms – people need to be aware and scammers need to stay on their toes. More metrics > less metrics.

  • Phil Frown

    I knew that eventually a tool or concept would have to come out to really help clean up the social media industry and finally give it some credibility. if you ask em tools such as these should be used regularly to help real social media consultants excel and avoid getting reputations tarnished by scammers.

    • Hi Phil, thanks for stopping by!
      Social media measurement is a tough beast – tools like this one are helpful but unfortunately tend to not tell the whole story. I think they’re great for keeping scammers on their toes, though, and helping to bring issues to light.

      If anything, I think tools like this tend to show the gaping hole in influencer outreach strategies – PR companies likely aren’t looking deep enough. More on that here: http://stephaniefusco.com/2012/08/open-letter-pr-pros-lets-be-better/

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  • Thanks for posting this and starting the discussion about how this is happening and why it’s so wrong.

  • Good job Stephanie, I visited and read entirely cause this is where it started 🙂

  • Great post! Twitter needs to come up with a better way to handle these spam accounts especially considering anyone can buy these fake followers for anyone else.

    • That’s exactly what happened to me right after SXSW. This whole thing is frustrating! Did you find any good Twitter scam blockers or apps? I tried that one Bussey posted but it didn’t help much.

      • No, I didn’t… I think Twitter really needs to control it though if they want to keep the integrity of the site.

  • TOBeautyReviews

    Wow! I never even thought about “fake” followers – I’m kind of scared to see how many of mine are fake and inactive LOL!

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