3 Ways To Spot Fake Twitter Accounts Following You

Saikat Basu

Twitter LogoMost of us aren’t celebrities like Justin Bieber and Barrack Obama with millions of followers waiting for the next Twitter byte. We are normal folks with follower counts in maybe double or triple digits. Even then, the scourge of fake Twitter users following us should be a cause enough to raise a red flag. Fake user accounts could be a source of Twitter spam. Cyber-stalking or Twitter stalking is a very clear and present danger especially if you are a female.

But most importantly, if you are serious about Twitter engagement, you would not want fake accounts to mill about and spoil the landscape. If you use Twitter for business or promotion, it is vitally important to protect your public Twitter timeline from being hijacked.

Note: If you are just starting out with Twitter read: Guiding Tech For Beginners: Getting Started With Twitter

Here Are Three Ways to Bulletproof Your Twitter Account from Fakes

So, let’s see what methods you can implement to get rid of this menace.

Status People

Status People

I came across this web application last month when the media highlighted that 30% of Obama’s 5.7 million followers on Twitter are fake. The figure came from Status People and its Fake Follower Check tool. The use of this web app is simple – you connect your Twitter account and authorize it to scan through your follower list. As the screenshot above shows, the Fake Follower Check also displays the percentage of inactive users. Fake Follower Check does not show which those specific accounts are.

Signing up with Status People gives you a more powerful dashboard but the Fake Follower Check tool is still not an integral part of the main dashboard which basically is about usage analytics. The information on the site says that they are planning to integrate the tool soon and make it more accurate.

TwitBlock

TwitBlock

TwitBlock is another free service that scans your account and reports which of the follower accounts could be junk. In a departure from the Fake Follower Check, it displays the accounts which it thinks are spammy or junk. The detailed look helps because you can individually check each account and mark them as “not spam”, block them, or report them. TwitBlock also maintains a blacklist and accounts are also checked against this. Blacklisted accounts are the obvious spam accounts.

The Manual Way

Whichever service you use, you might have to come back to sifting through your follower list and attack the spam accounts. With an eye for detail, it is actually easy to spot a fake. Some of the tell-tale signs to look for are:

  • Check the profile: is it informative enough and describes the personality or profession of the person?
  • Check the avatars and photographs: Avoid the bikini clad girls like the plague. Does the image gallery on Twitter give you any clues?
  • Check the conversations:  Does the shared updates match the tone and context of a genuine account? Are the message updates overtly aggressive?
  • Check the follower and following: A fake account (or at least a not-so-useful one) will have a disproportionate follower and following count. A real account will have a more balanced ratio.
  • Check inactive accounts: These are accounts which are just inactive, but not fake. You can choose to block and bulk unfollow these accounts as they do not contribute to engagement.

The above two services also check for similar footprints. Of course, the results are not always foolproof. For instance, in my case, both the services returned different figures. But yes, the check told me that there are spam accounts lying in wait.

Try out a scan with your Twitter handle and tell us how effective this information has been for you. Do you keep a check on spam and inactive Twitter accounts?

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