Tuesday, May 30, 2017

You can't buy love, but you can buy popularity

Nearly Half of Donald Trump's Twitter Followers Are Fake Accounts and Bots

By Ryan Bort On 5/30/17 at 4:43 PM Newsweek

Anyone can amass an exorbitant number of Twitter followers. You don't even have to be famous. All you have to do is pay for them. The comedian Joe Mande currently has a healthy 1.01 million followers, but his bio contains a caveat: "twitter is trash, facebook's the devil, i bought a million followers for like $400 none of this shit matters antarctica is melting."

Mande even explained the stunt last November in The New Yorker. "The simplest way to tell who’s winning the Twitter game is by counting followers," he wrote. "The biggest celebrity accounts—Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga—seem to have millions of followers. But in 2012 I learned that only a portion of those are real humans; some are 'bots,' artificially created to boost an account’s popularity. Immediately, I knew that I had found my calling."

Because Donald Trump is the president of the United States and the most famous person on the planet, one wouldn't think he would need to employ a bot to boost his Twitter following. It appears, however, he might have done just that. As screenwriter John Niven pointed out Tuesday morning, Trump's Twitter account saw an unusual spike in followers over the weekend, many of which appear to have been created artificially.

(More here.)

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