A strong majority of President Donald Trump’s millions of Twitter followers were spam, bots, propaganda or simply inactive accounts, far more than many other prominent politicians like Vice President Mike Pence and even Trump’s foes like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, according to a new analysis released by an online marketing company Tuesday.
SparkToro, created by Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin, conducted an analysis of all of Trump’s 54.7 million followers on Twitter and said 61 percent of the president’s followers are likely not real.
The figure is staggering, especially from an account that Trump has credited with helping him reach his supporters and win the presidency.
Out of Obama’s 103 million followers, 40.9 percent were not real, while 43.8 percent of Clinton’s 23.5 million followers were also deemed bots, spam, propaganda or inactive. The analysis also showed 41.5 percent of Pence’s 6.65 million followers were likely fake, as were 41 percent of former Vice President Al Gore’s, 33.7 percent of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s and 50 percent of California Governor Jerry Brown's.
SparkToro placed the accounts along a range of scores from one to 10. Scores between one and three were labeled as “low quality” and thus more likely to be spam, a bot or propaganda. A score between eight and 10 would be dubbed “high quality,” or a far more active user.
The scores were determined by the number of “signals” the accounts triggered, like how long they were inactive, the use of Twitter’s standard “egg” profile picture or even whether they fired off an “abnormally large” number of tweets a day.
“More than 35% of @realdonaldtrump’s followers are accounts that trigger 10+ different spam/fake follower signals (and thus have the lowest possible quality score, “1”),” the report read. “When compared to the distributions of other accounts, it seems likely that @realdonaldtrump acquired significantly more of these highly unusual and suspicious followers than others. We can speculate about why, but these numbers can make you feel confident in saying that the account likely reaches far less than half of the follower number reported by Twitter (at least, on that platform).”
SparkToro’s findings were far higher than a survey earlier this year. Roughly 15 million of Trump’s followers were deemed fake accounts by Gallup in June, making 29 percent not real.
Gallup’s study, however, used a sample of over 2,800 accounts while SparkToro analyzed all 54 million accounts that follow the president.