46.8% of Obama's twitter followers are fake

According to Politico, most politicians who boast of large twitter followings have a significant percentage of fake accounts.

A black market for fake followers — commonly known as “bots” — has infiltrated nearly every politically linked account from the White House to Congress to the 2016 campaign trail, undermining the reliability for one of the most commonly cited metrics of success in the Twittersphere.

According to a POLITICO-driven analysis, heavy hitters with Twitter handles attracting the highest rates of fake followers include the president’s political account @BarackObama (46.8 percent), Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s @DWStweets (35.1 percent), the official handle @SenJohnMcCain (23.6 percent) and likely White House aspirants @HillaryClinton (21.9 percent) and @ChrisChristie (18.9 percent).

More rank-and-file members also have been hit by the bot boom, from South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson (18.8 percent) to Rep. John Fleming (28.3 percent), a Louisiana Republican who won back-to-back House GOP social media contests in 2010 and 2011.

Assigning blame is nearly impossible for the fake follower phenomenon, which violates Twitter’s rules but has nonetheless earned its place in Internet lore alongside the ranks of the Nigerian prince and his incessant money transfer requests, to phony Amazon reviews and websites that sell Facebook-likes by the bundle. Many of the politicians attracting bogus bots very well may have no idea and it’s virtually pointless to try to pinpoint the blame.

Operatives working at the crossroads of politics and technology say the culprits behind fake followers are sometimes overzealous campaign workers or friends of a candidate looking for quick Twitter fame. “It’s for their bosses, because they’re obsessed with it,” said a GOP consultant aware of colleagues who have bought bots. “It’s just stupid.”

And bot buyers may not be just thinking about improving their own totals. It could be someone spending a couple of dollars — $20 on one site offers 1,000 fake followers added in two to three days — to load up an opponent’s Twitter account in the hope it sprouts as a negative news story. Aides to Mitt Romney argued as much when the 2012 GOP presidential nominee faced questions and media reports of abnormal Twitter follower activity.

I don't understand social media so this fits in nicely with my worldview. Fake support designed to generate real support, which generates more fake support...etc. The fact is, we are encouraging a generation of kids who can't express themselves properly because you can't impart important ideas in 140 characters. I'm just clearing my throat at 140 characters so I should know.

Even though many followers are fake, the value of Twitter and othe social media is the creation of an online community that can be targeted, preached to, and converted. And when the time comes to vote, they can be directed to a polling location. This is far more valuable than the old card files kept by precinct walkers and campaign workers. Even a computerized list can't do as much as blasting out a Facebook post to your followers.

So the important thing is not how many fake followers a politician has, but what he does with the real ones that counts.

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