According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in April 2018, it was concluded that of all links tweeted for popular websites, at least two thirds of them were attributed to bot or fake Twitter followers.
Identifying fake Twitter followers is one of the most prevalent industry practices and there are many tools available for this. One such tool is FollowersAnalysis. I will explain how to successfully identify fake followers using FollowersAnalysis later in this article.
If we talk about follower numbers, there is a clear understanding among people that more number of followers equals more popularity and reach. However, this statement today does not hold much water.
If you Google ‘Buy Twitter followers’, you can find at least 10 websites which have the primary business model specializing in selling fake or bot Twitter followers. This is a sad reality that we live in. This phenomenon questions the basic human understanding of believing what we see.
One more study conducted by Knight Research Foundation in October 2018 identified a core network of heavily connected Twitter accounts that spread fake news links and due to the high number of followers this core network had, stories spread quickly.
Twitter has taken numerous efforts to curb this practice of fake followers and deleted 70 million accounts it had deemed spammy, inactive, or which were displaying ‘erratic’ behavior. This caused many highly followed accounts to lose followers and affected Twitter’s monthly user counts. The company revealed in its most recent results in that it had dropped 9 million users in the last quarter.
Identifying and separating fake followers from your followers list is a daunting task and requires a tremendous effort from the followed account.
Identifying fake followers via FollowersAnalysis
There are various tools which can help you in the identification of fake followers. One such excellent tool is FollowersAnalysis. They specialize in studying Twitter followers and their usage patterns which allows them to separate the needles from the haystack.
Their comprehensive analysis provides with metrics which can allow you to identify the number of fake followers present in your account. I am going to explain all the metrics provided by FollowersAnalysis one by one.
1: Followers last Tweet date.
We all have followers who might have not tweeted for a while. You may also stumble upon some accounts which have not tweeted ever! These accounts may just be bots or fake which only serve the purpose of inflating your followers count or spreading fake news.
The profiles which have not tweeted since the past one year can be considered as dormant accounts.
2: Account age of Twitter followers.
Twitter account age is a very important metric in verifying the authenticity of an account. Bot or spam accounts are generally created recently for fulfilling a purpose such as circulating a spammy link or click-baity news.
The pie chart of the account age distribution should be diversified with less number of new accounts. The older the account, the higher is its credibility.
3: Followers count of Twitter followers.
Followers count of your followers proves their authencity. If any account has most followers with zero or very less followers of their own, it is most likely a fake account. A genuine Twitter user will have a decent number of followers but this is not true for a bot account.
The followers which have a greater following base of their own are deemed genuine. Followers with zero followers of their own can be considered as fake or spam.
4: Tweets count of Twitter followers
Tweets count of Twitter followers refers to the count of the total number of tweets sent out by a Twitter account. Accounts which have a higher tweet frequency in a short period of time that a human user could not feasibly achieve can be considered as fake followers.
5: Tweet timeline
Tweet Timeline refers to the frequency of the tweets as when the tweets are being sent out exactly. By referring to the tweet timeline, we can observe tweet patterns. If we find that an account is tweeting at a fixed frequency or in other words, behaving like a bot, it most likely is.
The accounts which have 0 tweets in their account are also considered as fake.
These valuable metrics provided by FollowersAnalysis can be of tremendous help if you wish to identify fake followers in your account.
How can I differentiate fake followers in the CSV file and block them?
This is indeed a very good question!
The analysis reports give us all the relevant points associated with the identifying the fake followers but for pin-pointing the exact fake account, we will need to delve deeper into the raw data CSV file.
The analysis report helps us in getting the percentage count of fake followers but the CSV file has all the followers information in a tabulated format.
This is a real followers report CSV file lifted from Twitter’s servers.
Once you open the CSV, you will be able to see all the followers information clearly mentioned. Keeping the fake followers metrics in mind from the previous part of this post, if a follower fulfills at least 2 of those metrics, you can flag it as a fake follower.
Let’s take a reference example for blocking fake followers taking their followers count and tweet count as metrics:
- Open the ‘Followers’ CSV file.
- Sort ‘Tweet Count’ and ‘Followers count’ from lowest to highest.
- The list will be sorted and you will be able to locate the followers which have 0 followers of their own as well 0 tweet count.
- Using the ‘User ID’ mentioned in the CSV, open the followers account in your browser and block the respective account.
It’s a simple and straightforward process. We can use other fake follower metrics as well to locate and block fake followers.
Fake Twitter followers have become a nuisance and because of them, the authenticity of Twitter as a reliable news and information source is questioned. Getting a detailed account analysis is the most effective solution available today to maintain the authenticity of a Twitter account.
Although steps have been taken by Twitter to curb this issue but considering the size and reach of Twitter, it is easier said than done. I hope this article helped you in understanding what are fake followers and how to identify them. Adios!