Presidential Candidates With the Most Fake Twitter Followers

November 10th 2015

While it is true that Twitter accounts can accumulate fake followers without realizing it, it is also true that you can purchase fake Twitter followers. With some presidential candidates showing a high number of fake followers, one has to question how many of those were accidental and how many were paid for.

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We decided to look at which presidential candidates have the most fake Twitter followers after the Washington Examiner posted some questionable results on this. They sometimes looked at a candidate's presidential Twitter account and sometimes looked at the account of someone's position in Congress or as a governor. Chris Christie, for example, has his account as governor and a presidential campaign account. So we'll only look at presidential campaign accounts (unless they only have one account). You can imagine a candidate who did buy followers would buy them for the presidential account, because it's typically more important.

We used a service called TwitterAudit, like the Examiner did, which looks at the tweeting tendencies and verifies followers of Twitter accounts to decide if they're real.

Here they are, from most fakes to least, within each party.


Hillary ClintonFlickr/Marc Nozell - flickr.com

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton has the most fake followers among Democratic presidential candidates. We found that 59 percent of Clinton's Twitter followers are real. Therefore, her social media following is only a little more than half as popular as it appears. Clinton has 4.65 million followers at this time, so it would appear she has millions of fake and real followers.

Bernie SandersWikimedia/berniesanders.com - wikimedia.org

Bernie Sanders

It appears most of Bernie Sanders' followers are real human beings. The New York Times has referred to him as the "king of social media," so this is no surprise. Of his followers, 89 percent are real. Sanders has more than 820,000 followers for his presidential candidate account. (His Senator account has almost one million, and 90 percent are real.)

Martin O'Malley

Martin O'Malley close upWikimedia Commons/Jay Baker - wikimedia.org

Martin O'Malley, though only getting about 2 percent in the polls, has mostly real followers—just over 100,000. Like Sanders, 89 percent of O'Malley's followers are real.


Chris ChristieWikimedia/Gage Skidmore - wikimedia.orgChris Christie

Chris Christie isn't even on the main debate stage anymore, but we had to honor him with the label of "most fake Twitter followers." We found Christie has even more fake followers, by percentage, than Hillary Clinton has. Only 43 percent of the accounts that follow his presidential Twitter account are real people. That means more than half of his 63,700 followers are fake. He has an account for his governor position with over 500,000 followers, and 64 percent of the accounts that follow that are real.

Donald TrumpWikimedia/Gage Skidmore - wikimedia.org

Donald Trump

Donald Trump is second worst for fake followers, among Republicans. About 64 percent of Trump's followers are real. He currently has 4.79 million followers, so it would appear that a portion of those followers are not real.

Jeb BushFlickr/Gage Skidmore - flickr.com

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush is next, with 68 percent of his followers including real people. Bush has around 363,000 followers.

His campaign has been declining recently, and he's now around 8 percent in the Republican polls.

Marco RubioFlickr/Gage Skidmore - flickr.comMarco Rubio

Around 74 percent of Marco Rubio's Twitter followers are real. He has almost 1 million followers. He's in third place among Republicans in the polls, for now, behind Ben Carson and Donald Trump.

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The Rest of Them

The rest of the Republican candidates have 75 percent real followers or more. Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz both have 75 percent, Ben Carson and John Kasich both have 76 percent and Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee both have 79 percent.

No candidate has publicly admitted to paying for higher follower counts.

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