Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Checking for Fake Followers on Twitter

Don’t Buy Fake Followers

I’m sure you’ve seen those ‘Buy Twitter Followers’ posts. Perhaps some are tempted to use them. Don’t be! You would be wasting your money. The chances are these ‘followers’ are not real people. They will never read your tweets and never re-tweet anything. They may also send out spammy messages and suddenly disappear when Twitter realises that they are fake.
People who post these tweets are breaking Twitter’s terms and conditions also and when reported – they will disappear too.
Now—if you are tempted, how are you going to pay for these? Are you going to part with your credit card data? If so say goodbye to your bank account. I wouldn’t give my details to someone who is a crook!

Is it possible to get fake followers by accident?

Certainly. Just use an ‘autofollowback’. Anyone who follows you will automatically be followed back and that includes fake followers. Strangely, there are thousands of fake followers out there who look for ‘I follow back’ or ‘#followback’ in user bios and follow all they find. Since they include that autofollow statement in their own bio they are blindly following each other and growing their lists that way! If you follow them and you’ve got that ‘I follow back’ statement in your bio, you can be sure that you’ll become a person on their list even if you are real.

What’s the harm?

If you have a high number of fake followers you are going to look foolish. “Look at me I have 20,000 followers, I must know what I’m talking about!”. People may also see spammy posts and replies by the fake follower addressed to you. There are people on Twitter who offer their services promoting your tweets to fake followers. To call this dishonest would be putting it mildly.

How do I get rid of fake followers?

First you have to identify them. With a little experience you learn to spot them and avoid following them in the first place. Often you’ll find:
  • They don’t have a profile picture or have one of a scantily clad person.
  • The don’t tweet often or retweet the same thing many times
  • Many more people follow them than they follow
  • They never respond
  • They duplicate the tweets of another account (probably also fake.)
  • Their bio tells you little about them, may be missing or be a quote.
  • They have that ‘follow back’ statement in their bio.
BUT
If you were not aware of this, fortunately there is software available which will help you identify and remove them. There are several of them but you should remember none are perfect. They can only give you a guide.
I use ManageFlitter – a paid solution costing $12.00 per month. They have a tool which identifies likely fake followers and will allow you to remove them and block them. How to do this is detailed at http://blog.manageflitter.com/identify-remove-fake-twitter-accounts-3-simple-steps
Once you’ve done this, wait a few days and check your Twitter account by entering it at https://www.twitteraudit.com/ or at http://fakers.statuspeople.com/ These are  free services which can be used to check for the percentage of fake followers. When you are following someone and are doubtful if they are real try running their Twitter name through those. If they have more than 10% fake followers, you might want to give them a miss.
Incidentally you can use ManageFlitter to grow your twitter account but remember—don’t automatically follow everyone who follows you. Check them out first.
Are some book marketing sites cheating authors?

Are some book marketing sites cheating authors?


If you pay for promoting your book through Twitter and website posts; how do you feel about these sites having fake Twitter followers and no website traffic?

What is a fake follower?

A fake follower isn’t a real person – just a name  They will never read your tweets, interact, retweet posts and will certainly never follow links or buy anything.

How do you tell if a Twitter account has fake followers? 

There are certain clues:

  • people who have an egg profile image or a scantily clad female image
  • people who don’t have a profile description or one which don’t describe the personality or profession of the person
  • people who don’t tweet in your language
  • people whose tweets are protected
  • people who don’t interact or interact nonsensically/aggressively
  • fake accounts will have a disproportionate follower and following count. Far more people are followed than follow back. A real account will have a more balanced ratio.
  • people who have not tweeted in the last 3 months. These may be genuine accounts but if they are they will be of little value to authors
  • people who tweet the same limited number of tweets endlessly

All of these are indicators only. If a Twitter account has several of these clues it’s an indication but not proof of a fake account.
It’s all too easy to buy Twitter followers. Software exists which generates Twitter accounts. It would be immoral for promotion sites to purchase such followers and unethical to knowingly allow such followers to remain. There are sites normally available which will check for ‘fake’ followers for you.
https://www.twitteraudit.com/ and https://fakers.statuspeople.com are two of them. Neither claims to be 100% perfect in that they may wrongly identify genuine followers as fake and fail to detect others which are fakes. You can also use Twitter management tools such as ManageFlitter to help you identify fakes.

What about website traffic?

No matter how attractive a book review on a website is, if the website doesn’t get traffic and the pages are not discoverable by searches then the review will never be seen. You can use
Alexa.com to examine the website traffic. If you are using Chrome as your browser you can install a toolbar icon to quickly gauge a site’s traffic. (http://www.alexa.com/toolbar) A site with an overall traffic rank of more than 2 million is unlikely to be of much help. A website with an Alexa rank of more than 1.5 million will be little use.

Paid advertising

What about paying for your book ad to be displayed? In a recent case Facebook suggested that an ad would be displayed to 420,000 people within a 50 km radius of the advertiser. Yet the total population of the area was only 320,000. You also have to factor in your advert being shown to ‘bots’ rather than real people. Watch the video at http://www.bloomberg.com/features/2015-click-fraud and for ‘soap’ think ‘book’

I’m making a list of who’s naughty and nice…

Here’s an example of a group of sites which charge $99 to promote your books by posting them on websites, promoting on Twitter and adding books to emails sent out to subscribers. I’m not identifying these well known sites because there is still some room for doubt about ‘fake’ followers. It’s possible for a troll to skew the results by purchasing fake followers for a site. A site which TwitterAudit.com identifies as having just 14% of real followers is pretty damning though. At the best, in my opinion, the site owner is careless and at worst, dishonest!

Site Twitter Followers ‘Real’ followers Website Alexa Rank My opinion
1 19,094 14% #316,685 Tweets from this site are useless but promotion in the website may be worthwhile
2 1938 93% #23,976,799 Very limited tweet value and website promotion will be unseen
3 11,707 97% #217,001 Moderately useful tweets and excellent website visibility – a site worth promoting on.
4 12,697 31% #5,801,496 Tweets of little value and few people will see the website
5 14,201 51% #8,434,577 Half of tweets won’t be seen and few people will see the website
6 No Twitter account n/a #2,912,361 Website is not very visible
7 7,657 98% #391,624 Few but genuine tweets, good website visibility
8 23,705 97% #1,824,011 Good site for tweets. Website is just ‘average’

In all these sites have a 91,000 twitter following – better than the 60,000 they claim but there are 72,000 unique followers of which 33,000 are likely to be fake.
Of course there is no conclusion to be drawn about how this group of sites promotes your books by email. This can be an effective method. However based on these results would you pay $99 to the group?

Will you help me to ‘check it all twice?’

Have you paid for a promotion and got unspectacular results? If so can you check the site’s ‘Fake’ followers at
https://www.twitteraudit.com/ (You can check them free there) or at https://fakers.statuspeople.com/ (You can check 5 tweeps and yourself there.) Also download the Alexa plug-in for Chrome at http://www.alexa.com/toolbar and let me know the site’s overall rank. Be cautious of making accusations. Just give the results and your ‘opinion’.

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