Bryan ClarkFormer Managing Editor, TNW
Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.
President Trump has a thing for Twitter. After using the platform to gain a massive following of so-called ‘deplorables,’ Trump’s fixation on 140 character rumblings hasn’t waned. In fact, he’s gained more than 13-million followers since taking office in January. Here’s the thing about followers though: they’re looked at as a form of social proof, or popularity, but easily purchased en masse by anyone with a credit card.
And Trump, it seems, has been on a spending spree.
First spotted by screenwriter John Niven, Trump’s Twitter account saw a hefty spike in new followers over the weekend. Call me cynical, but I don’t think patriotism led to the spike.
Trump's Twitter acc has suddenly gained 3 mil followers and has been blocking lots of people. New followers look like this… pic.twitter.com/uzYkeNsjUC
— John Niven (@NivenJ1) May 30, 2017
Pages upon pages look just like this: recently created (this month), no profile image, and lack of a bio or cover photo. Of Trump’s 31-million followers, in fact, nearly half of them seem to be fake. According to Twitter Audit, an online service to check for fake followers, Trump is towing the phony follower line: just 51-percent of his followers are legit.
In case you were wondering, his opposition in the 2016 election isn’t a lot better. Hillary Clinton boasts a 10-point lead, with 61-percent of her followers deemed authentic. As for Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, his follower stats show that 79-percent are legit followers, not accounts created to pad numbers in a fake popularity contest.
So is Trump buying Twitter followers?
We can’t be sure. It could just as easily be a fan or members of his social team. Trump is in love with vanity metrics though, and he’s enamored with those that cast a favorable light — like the 1.5 million people attending his inauguration, or the largest electoral college win since Ronald Regan (falsely, both times).
via John Niven
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