More Than a Third of Trump’s and Clinton’s Twitter Followers Are Reportedly Fake

Campaigns could waste money targeting bots

Headshot of Lauren Johnson

With roughly six weeks until the presidential election, a new report from ad-fraud detection company eZanga finds that both candidates have significant numbers of fake followers on Twitter. And as both Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton and Republican candidate Donald Trump pump more money into social media in the final weeks of the campaign, they may be wasting money in targeting those bots.

Per eZanga, 4.3 million—or 39 percent—of Trump's more than 11 million Twitter followers as of August came from fake accounts while the other 6.7 million are actually real users. And for Clinton, 3.1 million—or 37 percent—of her more than 8 million followers were fake while 5.3 million come from real accounts.

To compare, President Barack Obama's @Potus account has 10.4 million followers, with 7.4 million real and 3 million—equivalent to 29 percent—fake accounts.

Twitter accounts associated with Organizing for Action (which runs the @BarackObama account and backs Clinton) have 77.4 million Twitter followers, 40.7 million real and 36.7 million fake accounts—that means 48 percent of its followers are fake.

Meanwhile, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin—who supports and tweets about Trump often—has 1.3 million Twitter followers, with roughly 136,000—or 11 percent of her total followers—coming from fake accounts.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.
Publish date: September 21, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT