Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Yesterday there were reports based on a former Newt Gingrich staffer that Gingrich assembled his 1.3 million Twitter followers—a number that he's taken to bragging about—in part by buying fake Twitter followers. A lot of people did not think that was true! Today social networking search firm PeekYou announced that it had crunched the data and come to the conclusion that roughly 106,055 of Gingrich's million-plus followers are real people. The rest are fakes.

There has not been any direct evidence of Gingrich or his campaign buying followers, until PeekYou's report was released. PeekYou scoured through all 1.3 million followers on Gingrich's account and found that only 8% are real. "We just started running the 2012 candidates' numbers three weeks ago," said Josh Mackey, PeekYou's general manager of business and product development, "and when we saw [the] story, we went back to pull the Gingrich numbers. The huge majority of his followers are either completely anonymous people who have no other web presence, or they are spambots."

Mackey said PeekYou actually scrubbed each and every one of Gingrich's 1.3 million followers, using 23 criteria—including name, location, and inbound and outbound links in their feed—to determine whether they were real people. "We usually find out that real people have real web identities," he says. For the vast majority of Gingrich's followers, that wasn't true. They were either business accounts, private accounts, anonymous accounts that had only a user ID and no other discernible connection to the internet, or spambots. The average Twitter user, Mackey says, has a follower count that consists of anywhere from 35% to 60% real people. At 8%, Gingrich's is the lowest PeekYou has ever seen. "When was saw it, we actually had our quality assurance people go over the numbers for two days to doublecheck," he says.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.