Clinton, Sanders Have More Fake Than Real Twitter Followers

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders / Getty
• August 31, 2017 11:54 am


The Twitter accounts of Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), as well as those of top Democratic Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), have more fake than real followers.

The analysis site TwitterAudit, which calculates how many of one's Twitter followers are real, found that 9,086,280 of Clinton's 17.9 million followers are fake, while 8,729,955 are real accounts. For Sanders, 4,638,005 of his 7.74 million followers are fake, while 3,079,142 are real accounts.

Sanders' numbers are from his personal Twitter Account, @BernieSanders. His official Senate account, @SenSanders, has 2,613,107 fake followers and 3,142,635 real ones.

Booker has 1,978,364 fake followers compared to his 1,369,122 real ones. Warren's Twitter account has 1,585,213 fake followers and 1,428,499 real ones. Several other Democratic politicians also have Twitter accounts with a high percentage of fake followers.

News outlets reported earlier this year that a high percentage of President Donald Trump's Twitter followers are fake accounts, and it appears that many Democrats appear to suffer from the same issue.

TwitterAudit describes the methodology it uses to determine the number of fake followers for any given account:

Each audit takes a sample of up to 5000 (or more, if you subscribe to Pro) Twitter followers for a user and calculates a score for each follower. This score is based on number of tweets, date of the last tweet, and ratio of followers to friends. We use these scores to determine whether any given user is real or fake. Of course, this scoring method is not perfect but it is a good way to tell if someone with lots of followers is likely to have increased their follower count by inorganic, fraudulent, or dishonest means.

Several prominent political and media figures have experienced a surge in fake followers in recent months. MSNBC host Rachel Maddow has seen a dramatic increase in the number of fake accounts following her, according to a TwitterAudit analysis. The site's report from a year and five months ago showed 2,814,871 fake followers for the MSNBC host, while a recent update shows Maddow's account is now followed by 4,027,021 fakes.

TwitterAudit also shows a drastic increase in the number of fake accounts following failed Georgia Democratic congressional candidate Jon Ossoff, who saw an increase from 631 to 46,910 in the past six months.

Other notable Democrats with high ratios of fake followers include former President Bill Clinton (4,097,015 fake), California Sen. Dianne Feinstein (166,524 fake), Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill (102,332 fake), and California Sen. Kamala Harris (291,536).

Former President Barack Obama has 16,680,211 fake followers, though that number is vastly outweighed by his 77,558,272 real followers. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has a moderate ratio of fake followers. She is followed by 920,035 real accounts and 330,012 fakes.