Is he buying followers?
Tuesday night, President Trump sent Twitter into an epic four-alarm meltdown after his since-deleted “covfefe” tweet. Followers debated whether he was hitting the bottle, suffering from a mental breakdown, or had dropped his phone into the White House toilet.
But only half of Trump’s 31,000,000 Twitter followers were able to see the tweet because 49 percent are fake accounts or bots. These numbers come from Twitter Audit, a service that assesses the authenticity of Twitter users. Fake Twitter accounts usually contain no picture, no tweets, and no followers, and usually have bizarre, nonsensical handles. To compete in the narcissistic Twitter battle of “Who’s got the most fans?” users can buy sketchy followers for as low as $6 per 1000 followers.
via Twitter Audit
Trump’s legion of fake followers has grown astronomically over the past year. In April 2016, he had just over 7.5 million followers, and only 8 percent were fake. Upon taking office in January, Trump had 20 million followers, and the fake count grew to 32 percent. Since then, Trump has gained 10 million followers—of which a whopping 8.3 million are fake.
So what’s the reason for Trump’s massive increase in fake followers? Has his ascendance to the presidency attracted the attention of the bot-verse? Has he been buying bots to compete with Barack Obama’s 89 million followers (of which 79 percent are real)? Are fake Twitter users simply drawn to Trump’s love of spreading fake news? We’d ask them, but they never tweet back.