Which Politico Has the Most Fake Twitter followers?

Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor, Mamata Banerjee, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury analysed using TwitterAudit (not affiliated with Twitter Inc. in any way).

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Responding to the article, ‘@narendramodi Has More “Fake” Than “Real” Followers: TwitterAudit Data’, published earlier in February 2017, an insider of BJP who wished to remain anonymous said, “We do not accept results of such reports when its credibility is unproven nor can we pay attention to every harry coming out with a report that is seemingly so biased.”

Responding to this same report a Twitter spokesperson said, "While we will not comment on the results of this dubious report, we can confirm that it is not officially from Twitter. In general, fake followers are covered by our Spam Policy located here: Any account that is reported to us as Spam will be reviewed and can be suspended/terminated if found violating our Spam Policy."

The article looked at the top 12 Twitter accounts in India by number of followers according to TwitterCounter.

Starting with the account with the least number of real followers for verified accounts of:

Narendra Modi “@narendramodi” – 46% real followers

A recent tweet from the PM’s twitter account reads, “Congratulations to Shri N Biren Singh and his team on taking oath. I am sure this team will work tirelessly towards Manipur’s development.”

Rahul Gandhi/Office of RG “@OfficeOfRG” – 52% real followers

The member of parliament and Vice President of India National Congress official account has pinned a tweet that reads, “It is not about how soon they went, but with how much money the BJP went to steal the mandate of Goa & Manipur”

Shashi Tharoor “@ShashiTharoor” – 55% real followers

The pinned tweet at the top of his account reads, “Lessons for living: Make a difference. Teach. Love. Write books. Help the needy. Donate your organs.(Timeless wisdom)”

Mamata Banerjee “@MamataOfficial” – 58% real followers

The pinned tweet on her official page reads, “Modi babu, you are totally arrogant. You are responsible for 120+ deaths #DeMonetisation…”

Sharad Pawar “@PawarSpeaks” - 88% real followers

A recent tweet appearing on Mr. Pawar’s account reads, “Happy to be part of a #BookLaunch event of THE ESSENTIAL AMBEDKAR edited by @Drblmungekar by former PM Dr. Manmohan Singh”

Sitaram Yechury “@SitaramYechury” – 93% real followers

One of the latest tweet from this verified account reads, “At 6.55%, wholesale price inflation is at a 3-year high. Burden of high prices due to economic mismanagement is being borne by all Indians.” Not trailing far behind is a tweet about the same book launch Sharad Pawar was at.

Founded in 2012, TwitterAudit works by taking a random sample of 5000 Twitter followers for a user and calculating a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. These scores are used to determine whether any given user is real or fake.

According to TwitterAudit, a green thumbs up means there are more real followers; an orange thumbs up means the algorithm finds it hard to decide how many are real and fake; red means there are definitely more fake followers than real ones.

While TwitterAudit accepts that the scoring method is not perfect, they say it is a relatively reliable indicator of how the account holder has acquired their Twitter followers. TwitterAudit further says their audit is a good way to find out if, “someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means.”

TwitterAudit is US based and is not affiliated with Twitter Inc. in any way. It was cofounded by David Caplan, who refers to himself as a hacker, scientist and a startup addict.

Note – at the time of filing this copy, the tweet used here was the one appearing right at the top of each Twitter account. This may have changed depending on the account user’s activity.

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