At least one entity has its sight set on verifying the veracity of social media accounts. TwitterAudit is a service that calls out fake followers.
It says it works by taking a “fairly large” sample of an account’s followers and, based on about 20 criteria, determines whether or not an account is a bot or an inactive user.
David Gross and David Caplan got the idea a few years ago after hearing that some of their friends who worked as marketing and growth gurus were buying fake followers.
“We devised a plan to make a tool that could figure out the truth behind the numbers,” Gross, TwitterAudit’s Creative Director, says during an exclusive interview with HipHopDX.
TwitterAudit CTO Caplan then put together an algorithm that would use the Twitter API (short for application program interface, a set of routines, protocols and tools for building software applications) to pull in data and calculate a score per follower. Gross came up with designs and branding for the operation.
Young Thug, Iggy Azalea, Dr. Dre & Rick Ross Get TwitterAudited
The service audited the accounts of a number of rappers. On the upper end of the spectrum, Young Thug and Iggy Azalea both got a 93% Audit score, meaning that 93 percent of their respective followers were deemed real and 7 percent were deemed fake.
Gross has an explanation for the numbers.
“Famous people are always more likely to be near the Twitter average, 50% fake/inactive,” he says. “The more popular a person is, the more likely that person is to be followed. The more likely you are to be followed, the higher the probability that you will be followed by an inactive or fake bot.
When people first sign up to Twitter, they are taken through a series of steps that suggest people to follow based on your interest. The people on that list will always have the largest number of inactive users, the people who sign up and don’t ever come back.”
Gross and Caplan’s goal for the product came after people started monetizing their social media because they had purportedly crafted personas and were viewed as social media experts based on their number of followers.
“We wanted to figure out who was telling the truth and actually generated real engagement and knew how to grow a brand organically,” Gross says. “This is super valuable to marketing agencies or anyone applying for a job in media. If you want to sell tweets under your name, ’cause you have 100,000 followers, what am I actually buying? 100,000 real, engaged individuals, that will receive my message and potential buy my goods? Or am I buying 100,000 bots, which is in essence fraud?
“Also, if you’re going to try and land a job at a startup or other media outlet, did you actually generate real follower engagement?” Gross continues. “Did you create an actual marketing plan, follow it through and organically attract people to follow you?”
Gross says that TwitterAudit has garnered attention because of its ease of use and effectiveness.
“Most projects start to drag on and create a list of features that add no true value,” he says. “TwitterAudit is one thing. How many of your followers are real? It’s an interesting question. That’s what attracts people to use it.”
Screen shots of TwitterAudit, which calls out fake followers, are as follows: