Trump's Fake Twitter Following Climbs, Sparking Fears of a Bot War

Posted June 01, 2017

Is the president buying Twitter followers?

Publications like Newsweek, The New York Daily News, and Mashable, have picked up on the Twitter action, analyzing Trump's new followers and implying they could have been purchased.

According to Twitter Audit Report, an analysis tool which will tell you how many of an account's followers are real people, around 15 million of his 31 million followers are fake. As of the end of the month, Trump's personal account has a total of 31 million - he gained 3 million new followers for the entire month of May.

The number of users who followed Trump's account was far lower - the president had 30.6 million followers on Friday compared to 30.9 million on Tuesday. The comedian Joe Mande now has a healthy 1.01 million followers, but his bio contains a caveat: "twitter is trash, facebook's the devil, i bought a million followers for like $400 none of this shit matters antarctica is melting".

For comparison's sake, President Obama's twitter account has 89 million followers - and 79% of them are real. The comedian Joe Mande now has a healthy 1.01 million followers, but his bio contains a caveat: "twitter is trash, facebook's the devil, i bought a million followers for like $400 none of this shit matters antarctica is melting".

But since the Dumpster is already the most powerful man in the world, we all know he doubled his following with bots because he's obsessed with vanity numbers - like his "landslide" election win.

It is something of a commentary on the nature of social media and its users that Obama is the only person or company who is not related to entertainment who finds himself in the top 10 of the list of most followed Twitter accounts.

Is Trump the only politician with fake followers?

So what could be the reasoning for this giant surge in Twitter followers? Here, he speaks during a joint news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, May 30, 2017.

Malcolm Nance, a retired U.S. Navy cryptologist and intelligence expert, said he believes that the increase in bots following Trump could show that "Russian cyber warfare support [is] ramping up for @POTUS" and that this kind of behavior can be a "key intelligence indicator". We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake.

There are a number of services and businesses that offer to increase the number of followers you have on social media platforms, for a price.