Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nigerian Celebrities and Fake Twitter Followers

I once had less than 50 followers for years on twitter (@adebsrk) and I wasn't bothered. I was more interested in those I followed because my twitter account was primary for receiving information; access to breaking news, headlines, and a few friends. I read a headline about an application by Status People, a British start-up company, devised to identify fake Twitter accounts or bots. These bots were accounts created for marketing purpose. There are websites you could pay less than $20 and have 5000 of these bots/fake accounts at your disposal. Celebrities or whoever needed to boost the number of their followers could use it as a means to have large number of Twitter followers. StatusPeople's app makes it possible to search Twitter accounts to know how many of their followers were Fake, Inactive users, and Good. In other words, separating the bots from the ones opened by you and me. For example, Obama might have 19 million followers on Twitter, but 70%, or approximately 13 million of them are fake or "inactive". According to the application, Kim Kardashian had the most [real] followers on Twitter and not Lady Gaga who had a significant percentage of bots.

The face value of having 100,000 followers might do a lot to the self-esteem of certain people on Twitter and you might envy them, but it reduces drastically if you realise only 100 of the followers were accounts of real people. I read a statement online about most celebrities not being aware how they go that many followers overnight and it was the job of their PR. Most of them believed the number of "followers" was important for star power. I won't deny once believing an individual with >10,000 followers was really social and would have loved to use them promote stuffs.

NOTE: Number of Twitter followers was recorded in the early hours of Sunday 2nd of September, 2012.

For instance, Don Jazzy (@DONJAZZY) is believed to be huge on Twitter because of his 402,171 followers. His faker scores showed he had only 52,282 followers. 349,889 of his followers were fake or inactive accounts. I doubted it at first until I decided to check out his followers as well as other top Nigerian celebrities.
I noticed bot accounts quite easy. The Twitter handle have unusual names, no avi, opened recently, no tweet, no follower, and following only celebrities. One of them was @amgelogis, tweeting since 2nd of September [time of writing] and already following 2Face, Ice Price, MI, elDee, to name a few. Imagine, in 2 hours I saw eLDee's followers (@elDeeTheDon) rise from 204,645 to 205,417. That was an increase of 772 [fake] followers.

I decided to make my list of Celebrities with most followers without including fake accounts and see how popular they really are. @elDeeTheDon's over 200,000 would have placed him in the top 10 of celebrities with most Twitter followers, but most of them were fake/inactive. He had only 24,645 active users and did not make the top 20. @PastorChrisLive 1,083,421 followers fell to 390,031 followers However, he still maintained the top spot as the handle with the most followers. @Wizkidayo 34% of his 333,472 followers were actually real but still came second. Linda Ikeji (@LindaIkeji) is the celebrity with the highest percentage of active followers, 61%, and still made the top 20. It was only Linda Ikeji, Davido, and Skales that had over 50% of active followers. I was disappointed because I expected Vic-O to be the one buying followers. He had only 135 followers and 67% of them were real. That guy now has my respect but that doesn't mean I will listen to his songs...just respect.
For the fun of it I checked out few of the people that flood my timeline, Omojuwa & Tolu Ogunlesi. 56% of @omojuwa's 36,367 followers were active while 65% of @ToluOgunlesi 21,814 followers were active.
I checked my faker score, out of my 51 followers 80% were active.

StatusPeople notes that their results are inexact, as their algorithm samples a portion of a Tweeter's followers and then extrapolates relative percentages across the entire data sample. In addition, pioneer Tweeters with longstanding Twitter accounts are more apt to have a higher percentage of inactive users. However, given that all of these are mature Twitter accounts, it is safe to assume that the results are accurate/inaccurate on a relative basis.


  1. I always used to see all those tweets that follow so-and-so or retweet this for 500 instant followers. Makes sense now. Though i'll never understand why anyone needs a billion followers anyway.