73 Percent of Lady Gaga Twitter Followers Are Fake or Inactive

So, how many of your followers are fake?

Lady Gaga has more than 29 million Twitter loyalists, but according to a recent analysis conducted by London-based StatusPeople, 73 percent of those accounts are fake, inactive, or other otherwise duds.  In fact, the company’s ‘Fake Follower Check’ finds that accounts for many celebrities and political figures – including President Obama – are overrun with fakes.

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The fake count doesn’t necessarily indicate fraudulent or suspect behavior, though there are dozens of firms buying and selling fake Twitter accounts.  In the case of Twitter-magnets like Gaga and Obama, fake counts are probably more a reflection of a platform littered with account carcasses.  After all, Twitter doesn’t require users to approve new followers, and creating (and abandoning) an account couldn’t be easier or more laxly monitored.  Which raises the question of just how many Twitter accounts overall are actually real.

But… buying and selling fake followers, really?  We couldn’t believe (perhaps naively) that anyone was doing this, outside of the most desperate and socially-obsessed.  But that was until we actually met an entrepreneur starting exactly this type of company, so we started asking some questions.  The entrepreneur, who asked to remain anonymous, said the reason for starting the company was simple: he needed the cash after getting ousted from another company he cofounded.  And, moral judgements aside, he assured us that he has dozens upon dozens of competitors, all specializing in cheap, easily-added followers.


“It may be the worst-kept secret in the Twittersphere. That friend who brags about having 1,000, even 100,000 Twitter followers may not have earned them through hard work and social networking; he may have simply bought them on the black market.”

Austin Considine, The New York Times.


But what does the fake count on a real, organically-grown and non-celebrity Twitter account look like?  For that, we ran a check on our own (@digitalmusicnws), which as of this writing has a more modest 33,004 followers.  Actually, we rarely delve into our actual follower lists, and let anyone jump aboard.  Regardless, our fakes are drastically lower: just 5 percent according to StatusPeople, though 20 percent were deemed ‘inactive’ or abandoned.

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10 Responses

  1. Frunobulax

    I was just posting about her on another article…….I guess people do want to see her arrive at a gig in a van with the rest of the band

  2. @mattadownes


    I read that this site bases its math on only a small sample of data (500 accounts) then multiplies accordingly. Kind of a small sample to place on accounts with more than 50k followers right?

    When I tried the software out last week it gave me a reply of 0% fakes and 3% inactives. If Status People could just give me a list of the 3%, I’d let them go to bring it to 100%.

    just sayin…

  3. @doigramone

    How embarrassing, those that go on about how many followers they have, just proof hardly any are even real people.

  4. Ivan

    FYI, according to an August 12 post, they now “grab up to 100,000 follower records and assess 1,000 of them across that base. This increases the accuracy of (the) App significantly. (They say) it means that now 97% of the Twitter accounts checked will return an accurate set of scores.”

    Greatest social development since MySpace’s fake numbers de-ligitimized the platform.

  5. Digital Marketing - Artist Man

    I ran into this recently with a client and was completely appauled. The client’s new label wanted to take the Facebook number from zero to thousands for the simple fact that it would LOOK legitament now. The were ok with buying these fake FB Page Likes from Russia and India just to make the Page “be cool” to radio and press as they roll out and negate the fact they still will have zero really fans to talk to.

    If your content/music isn’t good and neither is your reputation, who cares if you have hundreds of thousands or even million likes or followers!

  6. Not New News about Music Indus

    I’m an artist and musician and have looked into these services that can add ‘fake’ fans to social media. It isn’t just Twitter and Facebook. Myspace does it also. The ironic thing is that major record labels buy programs directly from social media sites that will spam to create a buzz to attract other consumers who want to be in with the ‘new cool thing’. Record companies, and corporations, on the other hand, to get interested in an indie band, require them to have made a true buzz on their own. What a tangled web.

  7. Music Chica

    In response to the comment that says major labels buy these programs, that couldn’t be more false. I manage recording artists for one of the world’s largest professional mgmt companies. Before that I worked at two major labels doing A&R (scouting). I unequivocally say that in all my years at a label, I have never had or heard a conversation where the artist or label agreed to buy fake followers.

    I’m willing to give Lady Gaga the benefit of the doubt on this one because I find it highly unlikely that her label or mgmt would do anything that could potentially sabotage her lucrative career. Rather, I think it’s more likely that when companies that sell this create these accts, they begin by following 5 or so large and highly visible ppl so that it looks somewhat legitimate. (And no I never worked for Lady Gaga’s label and don’t really care for her as an artist).