According to a new website, Kim Kardashian has 13.5 million fake followers. Britney Spears has 20 million. And a lot of bloggers are following suit. Er, what?
In a world where nothing counts unless you’ve taken a square-shaped photo and written about it in 140 characters, it’s hard not to feel like it’s increasingly important to be popular online. After all, who can deny the rush of adrenaline that comes when your Instagram photo gets so many likes it moves from usernames to double digits, or the feeling of warmth that accompanies a retweet from a stranger. Meanwhile, sure, you might feel self assured at work, but the crushing disappointment of a Facebook post that sits unshared on your wall? Yeah. That hurts.
So – depressing as it is – the idea that some people would resort to buying ‘fake followers’ to make themselves look successful on social media isn’t surprising. We’ve all heard the rumour that when you reach 6,000 on Instagram, the freebies come rolling in. We’ve all seen the job adverts insisting that only applicants with ‘3000 Twitter followers or more’ need apply. And we’ve all been tempted to fork out £3.99 for 250 Instagram followers.
We’ve just never actually gone through with it.
And we didn’t know that we could check up on people who did.
But now a bevy of websites appear to be giving us the option of doing just that. Just type in a Twitter handle, and a complex algorithm will apparently assess how many fake followers that person has. It doesn’t matter if they’re a friend of a friend, a blogger, a celebrity or a total stranger – if their account is public, you can check them out.
The owners of the sites, such as Twitter Audit, claim that their algorithms analyse how many of your followers post to Twitter regularly, how many other accounts they follow, when they joined the social media site, and whether or not they have a profile picture, along with a load of other, smaller factors that they believe can prove whether an account is real – or paid for.
Of course, it’s not foolproof, and it’s worth mentioning that the bigger your legit social media following, the more likely you are to amass a few fake followers without your knowledge.
Nevertheless, if the algorithm can be trusted, then the following is very interesting. Very interesting indeed…
CELEBRITY FAKE FOLLOWER STATS*:
Britney Spears: 20,185,302
Justin Bieber: 38, 276, 642
Barack Obama: 39,592,538
Taylor Swift: 34,646,760
Kim Kardashian: 13,459,070