"President Obama's Twitter account has 18.8 million followers -- but more than half of them really don't exist, according to reports.
A new Web tool has determined that 70% of Obama's crowd includes "fake followers," The New York Times reports in a story about how Twitter followers can be purchased.
"The practice has become so widespread that StatusPeople, a social media management company in London, released a Web tool last month called the Fake Follower Check that it says can ascertain how many fake followers you and your friends have," the Times reports."
The article went on to note that a high percentage of Mitt Romney's (far less lengthy) follower list was also likely comprised of fakes. This phenomenon isn't limited to pols; other celebrities also showed a high percentage of fake followers (up to 71% of Lady Gaga's 'monsters' for example). It is worth noting that there was no suggestion of any chicanery on the part of the pols.
While StatusPeople was clearly going for a big marketing splash with this announcement, it does also remind one that things are not always as they seem in the brave new world of social media. It also provides yet another example of why Twitter might not be the best medium to mine for polling data...