Twitter has more than 20 million fake users
Having a lot of Twitter followers can make you look important but a report has revealed about 20 million users on the popular social media site are fakes.
According to the New York Times, four per cent of the world’s estimated 500m Twitter users are not real.
Gaining fake followers unintentionally is common but there is also a growing industry to sell hordes of fake followers to make users look more popular and influential.
For as little as a few dollars there are a number of sites that can add thousands of extra followers to your account.
Some promise as many as a million extra followers if you are willing to pay for them.
Last year presidential candidate Mitt Romney was accused of buying 117,000 followers to make himself appear more viral.
US politician Newt Gingrich has been accused of doing the same thing back in 2011.
In Hollywood, it is not uncommon for actors competing for the same role to book the job because they had more Twitter followers than their competition.
A fake follower is not hard to spot. Most don’t have a profile picture, have few followers and have hardly tweeted.
The better fakes actually look like real people complete with profile pics and bios and that have been programmed to retweet on occasion and even link to websites.
Simply type in a user name and the sites will identify the number of fake followers, inactive followers and good followers.
Tech Guide decided to type the names of some of the most people on Twitter into these sites to see how many fakes they had.
If you have a Twitter account you can type in your username to find out the state of your following.
Here are the results we found on the Status People site:
Justin Bieber – @justinbieber (37,181,000 followers) has up to 45 per cent fake followers.
Lady Gaga – @ladygaga (35,881,000 followers) also has up to 45 per cent fake followers.
Katy Perry – @katyperry (34,645,000 followers) has up to 55 per cent fake followers.
President Barack Obama – @barackobama (29,458,000 followers) has up to 50 per cent fake followers.
Twitter has actually taken legal action against some of the companies who are peddling fake followers.
But Twitter has admitted, through spokesman Jim Prosser, that about 40 percent of users look like fake accounts because they only follow people and they have never tweeted themselves.