About half of your brand’s followers are likely fake

12 Jun

So your brand is on Twitter and you want more followers… but how useful are they to you if nearly half of them turn out to be bots?

A study by Marco Camisani Calzolari
, a corporate communication and digital languages professor in Milan, into 39 brands on Twitter showed up to 46 per cent of followers were likely to be automated bots.

He used an algorithm to determine the behaviour of followers, based on key indicators of what was likely a bot.

The academic analyzed feeds of 39 international and Italian brands, including @DellOutlet, @BlackBerry, @CocaCola, @IKEAITALIA and @VodafoneIT.

While the study sample was relatively small it raises some questions about brands obsessions (and individuals too) with numbers of followers, especially when nearly half of them are fake. One wonders if brands are deliberately gaming the system to give the illusion of bigger followings.

As one observer pointed out:

Twitter should be able to crack down on this a lot more than they already are. If a professor can singlehandedly come up with an algorithm to detect bot accounts, why can’t Twitter do the same and remove these accounts? Unless, of course, they can and they’re afraid of what might happen if they open Pandora’s Box.

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