Why Did Trump Get 5M Twitter Bots To Follow Him This Week?

It is unusual or at least unprecedented in Twitter's admittedly short history for the sitting president of the United States to buy followers while in office.

Publications like Newsweek, The New York Daily News, and Mashable, have picked up on the Twitter action, analyzing Trump's new followers and implying they could have been purchased. Snapshots from archive.com show that Trump's followers only went up from 30.7 million to 31 million. According to the auditing website, only 32 percent of Perry's followers are real, which means there are nearly 67 million fake Twitter accounts that purportedly track her every tweet.

That's a big dip in the percentage of real people following the president. It has grown by about 7 million since February, the site said, and more than half of those accounts appear to be fake.

Although many of Trump's new followers do appear to be fake accounts that do not belong to actual people, the phenomenon is not specific to him.

Maybe it's a plot by Trump to overtake former President Barack Obama, who is sitting pretty on Twitter with 89 million followers. Suddenly now, he has over 30 million followers.


Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey estimates that the number of fake accounts on their platform is closer to 5%. That's more fake followers than other presidential political figures.

While it may not have grown very quickly, Trump's account has added more than 2 million followers this month, according to Mashable. Here, Perry, who is the most followed person on Twitter, performs at the Wango Tango concert in Carson, California, May 13, 2017.

The audit tool is updated for different accounts at different points in time.

The website, which says it has been "exposing Twitter fraud since 2012", explains its methodology, which it admits is not an exact science. It came to this conclusion using a methodology that looks at each user's number of tweets, the date of their last tweet and their ratio of followers to friends. "Of course, this scoring method is not ideal but it is a good way to tell if someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means". Social media followers are usually seen as a sign of popularity or societal importance.

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