How Many Fashion Bloggers Have Fake Twitter Followers?

There's a hot controversy afoot in the Twitterverse — alas, some of those folks who are you following you may not be “real.”

What's worse, however, is that those fake followers can be purchased, and this, allegedly, has turned into a common practice for some prominent (and wannabe prominent) tweeters. One such person under such speculation includes President Obama, who allegedly has a 71% fake following (adding up to a whopping 13.5 million of his 19 million following).

Forbes then took a closer look at the top 15 celebrity tweeters, quantifying through Status People, the Twitter follower whistle-blowing software, that some of the major players, like Rihanna and Oprah, have up to 37% fake followers.

According to Fast Company, the fake finder isn't exactly perfect, however it still holds some clout, “While the makers emphasize on their site that their metrics aren't perfect (for example, they only analyze a sample of your followers and, moreover, it's possible for anyone to purchase Twitter followers for another user), there is no doubt that the results have the potential to humiliate anyone who pays money for subscribers–a dodgy practice that takes just a few minutes.”

And it's not just well known figures buying followers, the New York Times recently reported about a comedian named Dan Nainan, who went from 700 to 220,000 followers over night for the price of $424.15. “There’s a tremendous cachet associated with having a large number,” said the comedian to the New York Times, adding later, “When people see that you have that many followers, they’re like: ‘Oh, my goodness, this guy is popular. I might want to book him.’ ”

Then there was Zach Bussey, the blogger who accumulated 26,000 followers literally over night buy purchasing them as an experiment.

Since the recent outrage has been a public discussion, with article after article being written about the topic, Twitter has come to the defense, claiming that these followers are not necessarily “fake,” but instead simply “quiet.”

While many sites have looked into celebrity personalities, musicians, and politicians, I decided to round up thirteen randomly selected avid tweeters, involved in all different facets of fashion, to see how their fake stats matched up. See the evidence below, via Status People:

@sartorialist – 124,906 followers, 5% fake

@aggydeyn – 229,063 followers, 17% fake

@ManRepeller – 92,005 followers, 4% fake

@hilaryalexander – 229,817 followers, 8% fake

@bryanboy – 295,427 followers, 14% fake

@susiebubble – 168,103 followers, 11% fake

@annadellorusso – 116, 997 followers, 6% fake

@kanyewest – 8,404,753 followers, 21% fake

@millajovovich – 1,005,519 followers, 13% fake

@dkny – 415,277 followers, 6% fake

@oscarprgirl – 146,535 followers, 6% fake

@NET-A-PORTER – 312,487 followers, 7% fake

@_ifb – 29,473 followers, 2% fake

Well, there you have it, they are all relatively low compared to the stats of celebrities. Even Kanye's 21% is much lower than other big name tweeters.

While purchasing Twitter followers might seem like the “quick fix” for upping your social media game, here's the catch for bloggers — while having a mass amount of Twitter followers may attract marketing and advertising companies to your social media, if you are unable to deliver results once you begin working with them, you may gain a bad reputation, and eventually, less deals.

For example, if you buy 20,000 followers and promise a company that you will tweet their hashtag, they will expect your followers to engage with you and also use the hashtag. If none of your followers actually engage (since they are fake), it's likely the company will pick up on this. In the end, you will probably end up having a sour business relationship with the company.

So, the moral of the story? Don't use fake twitter followers because of three reasons:

1. An agency (or anyone for that matter) can easily check to see if your following is fake or real.

2. It will end up hurting your business.

3. And, in a nutshell, it can be considered dishonest.

What do you think about fashion bloggers having fake Twitter followers?

Thanks to Nubia for submitting the topic.

[Image credit: Shutterstock]


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33 Responses

  1. Sarah's Real Life

    So I love that you included the % of @_ifb’s fake followers, but I’m kind of wondering why you have any at all?! Since you published this article, don’t you want to delete your fake followers? Just curious!

    Sarah’s Real Life

  2. Sammy

    it seems a bit silly to me! whats the point in having fake followers! its a bit sad if you ask me, to actually ‘buy’ followers?!

  3. jennifer at james dry goods

    Chelsea – thank you, thank you, thank you for this post! I have been following these reports…with my jaw on the ground. Personally, I am very careful about what I tweet to remain relevant to the followers I have and I carefully choose who to follow to keep my own feed relevant to me!

    I was glad to see the low number of “fake” accounts on some of our most successful colleagues. Another reminder to stay authentic to my brand and my voice.

    As my Pop always says: just because people do it, doesn’t mean it’s right. In fact, most of the time it’s not.

    looking forward to meeting you at IFBCON

  4. Eboni

    Good post! I just think its important to clarify that not all fake followers were purchased. Twitter bots have been around from the very beginning and it is unreasonable to expect someone with thousands of followers to constantly purge their followers of these fakes/bots. Unless your account is private, you don’t have any control over who follows you. I just think it’s important to point out the distinction between those how have fake followers and those who bought fake followers….the distinction is implied in this article, but it’s not 100% clear and I think many might miss it, which will inevitably cause a shit storm of people accusing popular bloggers of buying followers. You know how easily worked up we can get. 😉

    • J'ara Ami

      I agree, I was thinking this when I read the article. The % of ‘fake followers the fashion guys listen have, makes sense in relation to the total amount of followers they have – given the fact twitter bots exist. EVERY twitter who is not private will have fake followers. As soon as you mention certain keywords for these ‘bots’ they start following you (they usually unfollow after a week or 2 though if you do not follow back)… so yea, not all fake followers were bought x

    • Fashion Ladder

      Spot on. I was about to comment the same thing you said and I decided to read the comments to see if anyone else was on the same page I was….spam bots…they have always been around at the “sats” shown don’t portray whether or not they are bots, spam, or bought, etc….so I see a fault in the stats as well..this article, while it may be well written, doesn’t resonate a lot with me just because without the % of “bought followers” this article runs short…oh well guess thats blogging and that is uninformed users…

  5. Nubia

    Hey Chelsea,

    Nice article, thanks for writing about this I thought it deserved some light. There are a lot of hard working bloggers that produce great content for their following… This is very shady and unfair to bloggers and brands hiring them expecting real results. It’s highly unethical.

    Also PR/Social Media People like myself, work hard creating content for social media calendars and interacting with followers to gain a big authentic following for companies.. So if any media companies are using this, shame on them.

    As Brands become more savvy through analytics and other tools…they will start looking up every blogger they work with to make sure numbers are legit… People “fluff” their numbers ALL THE TIME! But that’s a whole other story. Toodles 😉

  6. Jessica

    I always wondered how bloggers who are sketchy looking to begin with have more followers than my blog which is authentic and genuine. And of course Kanye has the highest % out of that list, he’s sleezy!

    Great article and super enlightening. Thanks!

    xoxo Jessica

    • Andrea

      I hope your math is right….bc Kanye may have over 20% fake..but he has over 8 million followers…so yeah his % seems higher than all listed…but none of them have even gotten to a million. check your math before stating something that you don’t know is true.

  7. Linda

    Buying followers can definitely be worthwhile from a financial perspective (it’s crazy cheap). Whether it’s moral or ethical is a separate issue.

    The reason to buy followers is for “social proof” — basically people want to follow what is already popular because they assume that popular = good. Your same twitter account is going to start adding more followers per day if potential followers see that you have 12,000 followers than if you have 12. So buying your first 1,000 followers can help you get more REAL followers faster.

  8. Beeswonderland

    I’m really shocked!I heard about it recently,but didn’t know that even this “popular gang” has their fingers in it!I am totally against it,what’s the point??Great example is this about our businesses and not being able to fulfill our deals with brands.

  9. TheFollowerStore

    Here’s what you’re not being told…

    It’s not possible to know how accurate the numbers are. ANY of them. The fake one’s or the real ones.

  10. Ruins Barry

    Great article and a real eye opener. I think all of us on twitter should take our take to build our following. Eventually, you will get the results that you want. It’s better to be authentic than fake.

  11. Karie

    Oy. Twitter is a pain for me. I figured out (very late) that I had an “unfollow” bug, and now I may have fake followers!? My number of followers is so small (especially considering I had that bug for several months, it seems)…I’m curious how many are fake. (The Status People site doesn’t seem to be working right now…)

    Another great post! Thanks IFB!


  12. Natalia Gutierrez

    I like having followers that will click with some frequency on what I share with them, that will really follow what is going on. And the same happens on all my social networks. I think right now blogging is going through the worst number obsession, buying followers or the cheaper “follow me, I’ll follow back” is really hurting what we really do: create content.

  13. The Urban Lioness

    Oh my gosh! I just read about all of this in the New York Times! It’s crazy, I understand some of it isn’t intentional but the percentage that is, how can you look at your number of followers and not feel guilty? It just seems like there’s an unspoken Twitter ethics code that’s obviously been violated!

  14. Supriya G

    Interesting post…!!! Thanks for bringing up such a sensitive topic 🙂

    We use social media for interaction, knowledge transfer, education , collaboration & for business opportunities….

    I wonder why would celebrities want to buy followers which would not fetch them anything but the multi digit figures on their twitter profile… Is the competition for the number game so intense that celebrities don’t mind risking their hard work & reputation for couple of thousand fake followers just to be ahead of their competitors???

  15. DressCode:HighFashion

    This article is missing the crucial point: WHAT IS A “FAKE FOLLOWER”???

    Not every follower that is quiet is fake.

    Just take a look at all the “Follow me and I`ll follow you back” requests in the IFB forum – they serve the simple reason of raising your followers number but never interact. These are real people with real accounts.

  16. Susann Akers

    I know Social Media is very important for raising brand awareness, but buying Twitter followers and Face book fans just seems a bit wrong and desperate. I use Twitter a lot, I have noticed how litle control Twitter seem to have. I get loads of Twitter spam, yet I cant follow more that 2000 people.

    There is a company called Just unfollow – you can unfollow people who dont follow you and you can unfollow people who are “being quiet”

    Have a great weekend


  17. Julia Sunderland

    If you notice, that list includes the IFB twitter account:

    @_ifb – 29,473 followers, 2% fake

    Do you think they bought twitter followers? No? So why would any of the others in that list? Any twitter account is gonna have a percentage of bot followers, that’s just how the internet works. On twitter you don’t have to tweet to be able to follow people, so I imagine a lot of the followers marked as “fake” are just people who follow a lot but don’t actually tweet themselves.

    Julia x

  18. Kimberly

    You can buy fake followers, likes and accounts on just about any social media platform — twitter, facebook, pinterest, etc. I don’t know about instagram yet, but I’m sure something is out there for that too. You can buy fake traffic to your site too, you can fake your alexa ranking and you can even fake your PR. The point of fake twitter followers is to show people “hey, look how popular I am”, and not just to sell sponsored tweets. It make sense, I get why people do it and I don’t really care if they do but I don’t want to waste my money on it, regardless of how cheap it is. I’m fine with growing my organically.

  19. Chaucee from Streets and Stripes

    I had no idea this was even going on, or that it was even a possibility! It’s kind of odd that people would go to that measures to assume such an inflated web presence.

  20. Emily

    Hey guys! So I don’t know if you know, but I’m an aspiring comedian and I need YOUR help! Basically I really want to apply to become a potential member of “WitStream”, which is a Twitter based comedy circle/group of comedians who tweet absolutely hilarious things. It’s totally interactive, which is one of the many things I admire about it. HOWEVER, under the guidelines of acceptance, you have to have at LEAST 200 followers before you send in your application — I have 70 followers. I’m not a famous celebrity, obviously, so I really have no way of acquiring this many followers on my own. What I am asking you guys is, if you have a Twitter, to please check mine out HERE [] and if you enjoy my tweets, to follow me. I do admire and respect EVERY single one of my followers and, in the past, when I’ve asked you guys for help you’ve always been there for me. 

    In summary, it would really mean the world and a half to me for you guys to read this and follow me on Twitter []. This is my dream and I don’t know of a more accepting and loving group of individuals as you guys. If you could please reblog this post and send it around it your friends it would be so kind of you.

    Anyways, thanks for sticking around to the end of this post (I know it’s long!). I really hope that together we can get me to 200 followers! Thank you guys SO much, in advance. I love you all. 🙂

    XX, Emily


  21. Jaec

    If having a load of followers puts you on an exclusive list that people look to for ideas of who to follow then go ahead, but since there isn’t any official list like that, it’s pointless. Except of course it looks good on your page to have 200,000+ followers.

  22. gaebrille

    Thanks for such a informative article really appreciate your work,I really wonder how to get these twitter followers,as i am a regular user in twitter but was not getting a good amount of twitter followers.Its not that they are fake followers ,they are real and you get what you pay for such followers to follow you.For more information related to buy twitter followers see this.

  23. Fake Twitter Followers are lame

    Wow that’s shocking that most celebrities have 30% and more fake followers. That’s probably why they became famous in the first place, by fooling everyone that they are already famous then paying a bit of TV and radio advertising on top of that.