Twitter Fakes #TWITTERFAKES - Really Ree


3 Dec 2012
This isn’t my usual kind of post but it is something I really care about so I thought I’d just say a few little things about it. Apologies to the beauty and fashion junkies – I have lots of other posts for you just below and more coming later.
About 6 months ago it came to my attention that not only it is possible to buy large volumes of twitter followers but that people actually do it!! I won’t say how and where and why I know in detail – but basically what happened was that someone I know and used  to follow suddenly vastly multiplied their twitter followers over night! A quick look at these so-called followers revealed a massive bunch of mute, solitary eggs – ie. twitter profiles with no profile picture that never tweet and have no followers.

Now it doesn’t bother me personally because it doesn’t really matter how many followers other people have, and quite frankly if you have cash to spend on bolstering your twitter profile then who am I to object? It is none of my business. And actually we all have a few fake followers I think, and lots of inactive ones – in the world of spam and fads, it is fairly difficult to avoid.

But when I look at the wider issue, it really does bother me. First of all, I can only assume that people buy twitter followers to appear more influential than they actually are. Again, so what? Well it is quite a big what.
Many PRs and brands use twitter following numbers to help them decide which bloggers to work with – in terms of sharing the latest news on product launches, providing samples for review and actual paid collaborations between blogger and brand.
We all have differing levels of influence in a differing range of topics, and as bloggers, we have worked mighty hard to achieve that. When a brand chooses to work with me, I feel great because it means they appreciate the work I have done. Also it means that I progress as the career blogger I have chosen to be.
When someone buys followers, it is rather like fraud. It is about tricking brands and PR companies into paying more than they should, whether it is actual fees, or free treats, or VIP invitations. I genuinely feel terrible for the people/PRs/brands/genuine followers/colleagues that are cheated, duped and defrauded, because quite frankly, it’s a con.
So why am I talking about this again? It because over the weekend I picked up on another blogger discussing this very same issue on twitter. I won’t say who, just in case they wouldn’t like to be named, but they were basically expressing their huge disappointment that a big fashion blogger with hundreds of thousands of followers, actually had an 81% fake following. He was so disillusioned as you can imagine.
And I was like…. How does he know it’s 81%? HOW??!! And this is how – – Gosh! I spent quite a while on it – well until it said I had used up my limit of searches and had to wait 15 minutes before I could use it again!! It is rather addictive and also strangely fun!
As you can see above on the check I did on my own account, it tells you how may fake followers and inactive followers people have, and comes up with a % score of how good the following is. Mine is currently 81%, so if I understand it right, out of my  current 7935 followers, 6427 (I think!!) are engaged, tweeting, real people.
So basically, here it the main point of what I was saying. If this twitter tool is to be trusted, I think I have found a good way to work out if people on twitter are as influential as they appear to be. I do hope it helps anyone who needs to know.

If you want to chat about it on twitter a hashtag could help. I suggest #TwitterFakes

And now that I have that off my chest I shall resume normal service. Back to pretty, girly sparkly! Phewph!

Unless otherwise indicated products reviewed are press or brand examples. Links may be affiliated links which means that if you make a purchase though one of our links we receive a small commission which helps support and run this website.

Share this story

View comments

47 thoughts on “Twitter Fakes #TWITTERFAKES

  1. Thanks for writing this Ree, it’s really well put. I find it very shocking that anyone would fake their influence, it is fraud and should be policed more. I think it’s just a matter of getting brands and PRs to open their eyes and not take everything at face value.

    I struggle because I’m not on Blogger, I don’t have very many public stats to quantify how valueable I am, so Twitter is my key. But when I see that so many people are faking it, it makes me mad, as I’ve worked hard for what I have and still don’t feel like I’ve made it.

    Brands need to get in the habit of asking for Google Analytics stats rather than looking just at GFC (which WordPress blogs can’t have!) and Twitter followers that can be faked. Also, brands need to learn how to understand what all these stats mean and how to identify how to get the best return from a blog collaboration.

    I could rant on for ages.

  2. It’s really sad and pathetic that someone would actually buy twitter followers. I had just thought people who do this were needy. I hadn’t even thought about the PR / influential aspect of it. Now they seem needy fraudsters!

    1. Shocking! I have seen some people discussing this subject on twitter before. I would love to see brands asking for Google Analytics stats to confirm traffic. Some “bloggers” lie about their stats constantly and it is obvious! It is fraud and it disgusts me!

  3. I know this goes on and to be honest it hasn’t really bothered me before, I’ve just thought those that do it are silly and don’t have any real friends… but your comments about how this might affect what PRs think of you and your online influence means that actually it is an issue that I should be bothered with.

    That’s a interesting tool you’ve found there. I’m quite proud of my 89% real score – like you say, it’s pretty impossible to avoid spam/fake followers entirely.

    I use Statcounter stats on my blog (rather than Google Analytics, it’s just what I started using) and I am more than happy to give details of those to anyone interested in working with me.

    1. I hate Statcounter, it’s not accurate. When I’m working with bloggers as a brand and want to know their stats I want Google Analytics only. I wonder how many PRs do actually think to ask for stats though?

  4. I completely agree with you that if people are buying followers in order to create more pull with PR agencies amd brands then it is fraud. The thing I don’t understand is what the ultimate benefit is because if, as a brand or PR, you engaged a blogger or writer to review a product then you are unlikely to get a return on your investment and as such the blogger is likely to suffer in the long run as they will never be used again.
    And whilst I don’t have anywhere near as many followers as you, I did check them the other day and am proud to say that I have 0% fake followers and only 4% inactive! Not bad!!

    1. Unless a blogger links in their post it’s fairly difficult to measure accurate ROI and I doubt that all brands actually look at the Analytics for blogger influence, so I think some PRs will continue with working with who they think they ought to work with rather than who will give them the best value.

  5. Further to the above comment, I would add that connection with a bloggers audience is far more interesting than stats. I started following your Twitter because you sent me a lovely reply to a tweet thread by a mutual friend. I didn’t even know you were a big blogger. I then saw you were and followed, and I find a lot of sense in what you recommend.
    It’s a process. It’s taken me a year to get 50 gfc and a handful of HC and blogger followers. I never push for more, because I don’t want those readers to feel unvalued.
    If it’s meant to happen, it will. Because the rewards seem so high if you hit it big, makeup-events-professional respect, I can understand why people would fake it. The onus has to be on the industry feeding the greed to check thoroughly who they invest their opportunities in. If they do their checks, and are true observers and curators of trends and influence, they will get it right. If they are lazy and uncreative with their clients money, they will continue to be fodder for these fakers
    I was pleased that my followers are 94% good, each and every lovely one of them, and I can say I have some contact with everyone of that number so thankyou for this great post, and the link too

  6. This is something that has been bothering me for months! There was an article on the Independent Fashion Bloggers site about this same issue that go my thinking. I think it is a problem because these bloggers are deceiving people to seem better than they are and get the bonuses, thus conning PR people and companies.
    It’s better to just work hard and reap the rewards when you deserve it!

  7. Well put but with using that website… when I looked at some of the ‘100% fake’ profiles on that website, some had only 11 followers, which I checked and found they had people with private tweets etc’ on there. There’s a difference between buying 100s of followers and that – what I’m saying is I hope it’s used for what it should be, not to hassle people who aren’t doing anything untoward.

  8. I don’t understand why you would EVER buy followers. Am I alone in thinking that there’s nothing more frustrating than when you put out a tweet and get NO RESPONSE? Imagine if you had all fake followers – you’d just be having a one way conversation – wouldn’t you?

    Also I agree, it is fraud. i work on a consultant basis helping people with their online presence and the amount of clients I’ve had tell me that they’re thinking of buying followers is ridiculous. In my opinion, it damages the brand!!

  9. To think people will go to fraudulent levels is crazy. Iv heard about buying followers but didn’t know people actually done it. Its ridiculous and the more publicity this receives the better!!

  10. LOL I think it’s funny but embarassing for all those who’ll be outed. I used this site a few months ago, it’s really telling! I wouldn’t waste my money on buying Twitter followers, it’s just not that serious.

  11. Very interesting post Ree, thank you. As a Blogger Relations Manager for beauty brands, I am very interested to learn that there are ways of faking apparent influence.

    Personally I don’t use any one means of measuring the suitability of a blog for each of my clients; instead I will assess a number of factors. And while the number of blog readers and social followers are obviously important to a brand, I think it is also important to consider other factors, too – for instance, quality and type of blog content, level of reader interaction across the blog and social platforms – even design and personality play a part.

    But most importantly of all, brands should work with bloggers who they feel best suit their brand’s qualities. Brands/PRs who put the time and effort into their blogger outreach will benefit far more than those who just send out blanket emails to huge databases. Thank you for the insight Ree! x

  12. It is now sad in this this competive world that this is how it is. I had 1% fake in the end and was disappointed as I don’t have a huge number of followers to start with. Being a ‘smaller’ blog I have to try and engage a lot with my followers to get word of mouth so I can increase my following. I also don’t have the income yet to warrant this kind of ‘purchasing’.
    I foudn this really insightful and have been following the #twitterfakes discussion with great interest.

  13. I agree it’s a bit sad but in some ways the numbers-obsessed PRs etc are part of the problem. They still think in such a one-dimensional way (basically that the more followers the better). This is nuts. After all, a lot of magazines sell more that GQ or Vogue but that doesn’t diminish their influence! Focussing on number is the equivalent of saying the bigger the penis the better the sex!

    1. My educational account seems to have a few fakes – it has a really small following of teachers (so I was shocked), most of whom keep their tweets locked down as private. It was only when I went back to find and delete that I realised this loophole; no tweets/LOCKED tweets = fake. Not so much of an issue for a beauty blogger but irritating if locked twitter is the norm in your sector. Or the opposite of a loophole I guess! My personal account has only 1% but although I weed out spammers, some get through.

  14. This is the blog post of the week (and it’s only Monday!!) Fake Twitter followers are like imaginary boyfriends 😉 They’re dead weight and might look/sound good in the numbers game but down the line they’re useless (as PRs and brands will find out!)

    Almost thinking it would be great if somehow the whole fake follower thing was unearthed and “banned” on Twitter, as it’s not just about how many (erm, real!) followers you have (or unique visitors, etc) it’s how influential and trusted you are as a blogger or journalist – and that’s something that’s built up over days, months and years, reflected in your choice of products and integrity/honesty of the reviews and a million and one other things. (Hard work!)

    I’ve done some quick digging and apparently it’s not just the “solitary egg Twitter pics” who are fake, seems you can buy random Twitter followers with photos – who look like real people but aren’t genuine followers, sort of dead robots with human pics…I would love to find out more this – totally fascinating and ethically dubious.

    Brilliant post, Ree, thanks for exposing this. Anyone got any inside info on this? We should contact the “BUY MORE FOLLOWERS” companies to find out,but there’s probably nobody REAL or human there to deal with…! xx

  15. Noooo waaaay! I am so shocked and staggered and disappointed by this, who would buy followers? I didn’t even know this was possible!
    So awful.
    You’re so brave for writing a post about this though 🙂 X

  16. There’s certain people I always suspected were buying followers but didn’t know there was a way of finding out.

    I’m really pleased because I’ve just checked and only I’ve only got 2% fake people – I’m not sure I’d bother tweeting if I had a tiny percentage of real followers; it’s sort of like shouting into the dark – what’s the point?


  17. It’s probably worth checking out someone’s twitter account and alexa ranking when they claim to be the most influencial beauty blogger in the UK. Betting they’re not. (I know they’re not coz I looked)

  18. Great post, thank you for highlighting a huge problem with Twitter. I am really pleased to see that I don’t have any fake followers. What also concerns me is getting spam subscribers to my newsletter. It’s hard to know how many people are genuine. You can clean up after a bounce back but I am inundated with people signing up just to leave spam on the website. Thankfully I have to approve every comment. Does anyone know a way to prevent this or is it just inevitable?

  19. I know we have been tweeting but wanted to say again great post! I think Twitter followers are only part of a blog though – I use a spectrum of social media to promote SparklySexyCool and I am proud of the real, true followers who check it out on such a regular basis. I use a WordPress site, and Google Analytics for stats. I also use to check out my ranking worldwide (I have never actually been asked for GFC).

    Its not cool to buy followers BUT I think we all have also look at why – if there wasn’t such an emphasis placed on our stats as bloggers people wouldn’t bother faking them! I guess partly its people just wanting to look popular as a big fish in the big ole blogging pond but also PR companies and journalists looking at blogs based purely on their twitter followers etc rather than taking into account the individual strengths of each blog such as geography, expertise in a certain area or just whether the tone fits.

    It is also pretty cheap to buy followers – just done a quick internet search and I could buy 1000s for just £10 or so. I guess if you have shady morals it is easy enough to do!

    Clare xx

  20. Re the empty eggs.. no it certainly isn’t just empty eggs that are signs of fake followers. One way to track – if you have time! – is to go through them until you find repeat wording on the profiles. If you go long enough into the follower list, you will suddenly find everything sounding a bit familiar. Different pic, same bio. It is also an indicator that they have either never tweeted or tweeted once or twice and have few or no followers themselves.

  21. Great post Ree, loving all these comments. Let’s hope this post can make a change. I also think it’s important for us to realise that some people do have genuine huge followings too, we shouldn’t automatically assume that huge follower numbers = fake.

    At the end of the day, PRs need to look at a full package and ask for proof with stats about influence. You honestly can’t trust anyone. I could also go on a rant about the randomness of GFC followers, which also don’t = huge stats or influence on sites all the time.

  22. It worries me a little bit that in the T’s and C’s on that checker app you are agreeing to let it follow people and tweet for you. Is it apps like that which are providing the fake followers?

    I find it a bit mad that people spend money on this. I like the interaction on Twitter and as someone else said in the comments above it must make Twitter a weird place for them if a high percentage of their followers aren’t actually real.

  23. It bemuses me to think that anyone would PAY for followers, followers really aren’t the be-all and end-all of life. Sure, its nice to have a few followers but I’d far rather 1 dedicated reader than 100 false, empty ‘readers’. I personally would not want to give a false image out to brands or the public/readers/friends/family – buying followers is essentially tricking/lying to yourself into thinking you’re popular. I feel sorry for those who feel the need to do that but unfortunately some people do, its a personal choice in the end of the day but not one I would make, I’m sure a proportionate amount of people wouldn’t compared to those who would.
    Each to their own, lets hope this post raises awareness that it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by brands/PRs when selecting people to work with but also to general bloggers as a whole. So much has changed with blogging since I started, I can’t believe these things even exist – I personally feel people are becoming FAR too obsessed with stats and figures and followings and social media, where did the original plain enjoyment from blogging go? Of course, these things are of some importance to grow as a blogger but they really aren’t the end of the world. I certainly wouldn’t pay for a reputation or popularity, I’d rather earn it – and earn a good one at that.

  24. Great post and see what you mean about the site being slightly addictive. I have 1% fakers on my twitter account but I’ll let the slide as I have 93% good, remaining being inactive.

    I did think that maybe people are buying followers to bump up their own ability to follow others if they’ve reached the maximum of 2,000 (obviously trying to see the good in people) but after reading some of the comments I see I’m totally an idiot at times LOL

  25. Brilliant post Ree, and totally true. It is deceptive for brands and pr’s and also flags up another point that there are lots of good bloggers out there who they miss out on collaborating with, and don’t even RT posts those bloggers have written about their brand, because they’re too concerned with *twitter status* and *number of followers*
    I’ve been steadily building my followers over 3 years since I joined Twitter and I only follow those I genuinely interact with; who are colleagues in the industry and others that I find interesting. My followers go up and down and I don’t sit there every day watching the rise and fall, I have a life funnily enough! So I certainly would never pay for fake followers.
    I think it all boils down to if you’re talented and have something genuinely interesting to say whether you’re a blogger, writer, artist, photographer, designer etc, you don’t need to buy followers or build up your profile falsely – people will follow you via an organic rise, not manufactured via your bank card for a few thousand extra egg heads 😉

  26. Excellent post, Ree! As ever, its the minority that give the majority a bad name. Like Sheenie, it make me feel much better at my modest 2000 followers – at least I know they’re real, and actually know quite a lot of them personally.

    Bottom line – buying Twitter followers is fraud, pure and simple. In the long term, fake followers are worthless – they will be found out, we hope!


  27. Hi Ree, thanks for a great post. It’s shocking isn’t it that most famous fashion bloggers have up to 80% fake followers! The tricky bit, is that even if we are against fake followers, because everyone is doing it, not buying folloars for yourself make you seem lie an unpopular wannabe… whereas if nobody would cheat and you have a Twitter account with 5000 real followers, it would seem like a lot…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended for you

Really Me

Did you know you can sort all our posts by your hair type, skin type, beauty style and budget to create your own personal beauty directory? Click through below to create your own ReallyMe personalised page.
back to top
Email updates on the latest news, reviews & offers

Please check our Privacy Policy to know how we manage personal data

Newsletter Updates - Footer