How to Determine if Twitter Followers Are Real or Fake For Free

June 22, 2013

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve written a couple of posts to help you understand more about Twitter. First was Five Tips For Getting Started on Twitter and then we discussing using hashtags in Use #Hashtags in Social Media to Increase Exposure. Some Twitter users are frustrated that their number of followers grows too slowly. If Charlie Sheen and Bill Clinton can get millions of followers in just a few days, why is it so hard for us to grow our lists?

First, you and I don’t have the media exposure of a television/movie star or a past POTUS. Yet even the biggest celebrity names take a popular shortcut. They buy followers! Most, if not all, of the bought followers of robots. Robots don’t read your tweets. Robots don’t interact with your tweets. So basically they just make you look more popular. If the number of followers grows quickly with fake accounts, it also tends to drop quickly when the robot accounts are banned by Twitter.

Whether it is your own account or that of someone else, I want to tell you about two tools that can help you check a Twitter account to see if the followers are real. Both of these tools are simply Web sites and both can be used for free to check for fake followers. I’ve used my own Twitter account as an example to show you the “fake” results. As of this writing, I have 1394 followers on Twitter. If you aren’t one of them, I’d like to invite you to follow me.

The first Web site we’ll look at is fakers.statuspeople.com. When you arrive at the site, you will need to give it permission to connect to your Twitter account. Once you’ve done this, it will determine which followers are real. Mine is shown below.
Fakers Check on Status People
You’ll see 2% of my followers are listed as Fake. It is rare to have 0% as sometimes users who do nothing get labeled as fake. Plus you can’t prevent a robot from following you. In short, 2% is a good score. Next is 67% of followers who are labeled as Inactive. This is neither good or bad, just that those Twitter followers don’t really do anything. They don’t really help spread the word on Twitter, but they likely aren’t robots either. Last is the 31% who are labeled as Good. Obviously you want the highest percentage possible listed as Good.

Of course the folks at Status People are somewhat vague about how the score is calculated and how they determine fakes. That’s fine as you don’t want to give the robots the details for how to fake being Good. It never hurts to do a check using a different service and see if the results compare. So now let’s look at my score from Social Bakers. Again, it is free and you simply have to type in the account to check. My results are shown below.

Fake Followers Check on Social Bakers
My percentage of Fake users increased by a percent to 3%. One useful part of this tool is it actually lists the accounts it considers fake so you can remove them as followers. This is really helpful as I recognized some of the names (and the avatars) of the accounts it called fake. They were definitely real people who simply don’t do anything on Twitter. Others listed as fake were unknown and had the egg avatar so I’m not surprised at all to hear they are fake. In short, a “fake” account isn’t always a fake and a “Good” account could be fake if it tricks the system.

The bigger difference with the measure from Social Bakers is that my Inactive is much lower at only 8% and my Good is much higher at 89%. Can you guess I like this result better? I’m not saying it is truly more accurate as the only way to know would be to manually visit each Twitter user’s Timeline and see what they’ve tweeted.

Where these tools come in really handy is just to get a feel for a particular account. If you measure an account and the percentage of Fakes is really high and the Goods very low, you can probably guess that most of the followers were purchased. If you want to build Good followers, you simply have to be a real person and have interesting and useful tweets. It will take time for the number to grow so just give it some time rather than purchasing a bunch of robots that don’t help you at all.

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