Knowing how to detect fake followers on Twitter and Facebook is useful to recognize the real influence of an account in those social networks. Unfortunately the purchase of followers has become more and more popular, so it is not uncommon to find celebrities, companies and ordinary people with large amounts of fake followers. Here we have some ways to detect irregularities.
Firstly, what are fake followers? They are bots, not real users created in large numbers and automatically. Programmers with hacking background have software that allows them to create accounts en masse, and then sell them. Clients often Buy Twitter followers just to look more popular and successful. Some websites sell these services, not only for Twitter and Facebook, but also for other social networks like Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and even SoundCloud and Vimeo.
How to detect them
An important first sign that we should notice is the proportion between the quantity of followers and interactions. If a Facebook fan page have hundreds of thousands of followers but few likes, shares and comments, it could be an indication of fan purchase. In the case of Twitter, there should also be a reasonable proportion between followers, retweets and favs.
Another important aspect to check is the activity level in the different platforms that belong to the same owner. In general, the popularity of a brand or person in their diverse social channels varies, but always between certain parameters. If we notice that a website shows no activity (comments, likes, shares, etc.) and no activity and followers on Twitter neither, but its fan page have hundreds of thousands of fans, that is a hint of followers purchase.
On Twitter we have a posibility that we do not have on Facebook: we can check the profiles or accounts of each follower of a specific account. Commonly, followers purchases produce some obvious inconsistencies, so as a Twitter account that tweets in Spanish but has a large number of followers that speak another language is showing a clear sign. Also, if lots of these followers have, in turn, few followers and few tweets, they are probably fake accounts or bots.
How to detect fake followers using stats
On Facebook, a key indicator are the statistics of likes, which are publicly accessible and allow us to see the last-week activity. If we notice a big and abnormal increment in the number of fans, that could be a sign of purchase. In the case of Twitter, the daily variation in the number of followers of an account could be checked with tools like Twitter Counter.
Another service we should mention is Fakers, a website dedicated to show the percentage of fake and inactive followers in any Twitter account. Please consider that it is not proof-failure, because there is no way to detect with absolute precision if an account is real, fake or inactive automatically with an algoritm. Despite this limitation, it is without doubt a tool that provides information that is significant if used along other observations.