In today’s digital age, there is an app for everything. One of the most notable apps that has seen a steady rise over the past few years are the fake follower checkers. These apps and websites, including StatusPeople, TwitterAudit, FollowerCheck and Bot or Not, claim that they can tell you how many of your followers are fake in a matter of seconds.
The claims are all too appealing but they do not hold much truth. These websites use criteria that are too broad even genuine followers can meet them. While these websites and apps manage to provide you with somewhat accurate looking data at first glance, calling them accurate is a far stretch.
To back this up, we went through a few of these websites to see if their claims check in. If you want to know our findings, keep on reading.
Why Fake Checkers Can’t be Trusted
Any attempt to categorize a large population is bound to run into a few inconsistencies – and such is the case for these fake follower checkers. These websites implore a set of predetermined criteria that look good paper but doesn’t translate well IRL (that’s in real life for all you old people).
The criteria used to determine whether a user is fake or not is too broad and cost you to lose a genuine follower – if you decide to unfollow them.
These fake follower checkers can really damage someone’s reputation based on shaky grounds. It is normal for any account, especially those with a large following, to have a good amount of fake followers because you really can’t control who follows you. These days, almost everyone on social media has fake followers and calling out someone for having a few on their list doesn’t really say much.
One tool from the social media analytics company Socialbaker says that they only go through 2,000 followers per user and generate results according to that specimen of data. Now, 2,000 might sound like a big number for some of you but if you have a large following, this is not really an accurate representation of the vast majority.
Below are some of the criteria followed by the fake follower checker from the social media analytics company Socialbaker:
- The Following / Followers ratio is less than 50 Following / 1 Follower
- They repeat spam phrases like “diet,” “make money,” and “work from home”
- Tweets are repeated more than three times
- More than 90% of the account´s tweets are retweets
- More than 90% of tweets are links and the profile has a following : followers ratio of 7 : 1 or more. This means, for example, that the profile is following 7 others while only being followed by 1.
- The account has never tweeted.
As mentioned earlier, these all look good in paper but that does not really mean they are accurate measures of fake accounts. Socialbaker even says so on their website
This means, even authentic followers can be miscategorized as fake followers – even when they are as real as real can be. Losing a genuine follower by using these types of apps can hurt your engagement rate in the long term.
How can a legitimate follower are categorized as fake?
How are genuine followers miscategorized as fake by these fake follower checkers, you ask? Well, because the predetermined criteria does not really show an accurate determination of a user’s social media behavior – what they tweet, how often they tweet and their retweet rate.
Below, we have debunked some of their criteria to help you make an informed choice in using these types of apps.
- Did you know that 44% of Twitter users worldwide haven’t sent out a tweet since creating their account? That means 44% of the 315 million users all over the world are at risk of being labeled as fake when they simply haven’t had the chance to compose their thoughts in 140 characters or less.
- Spam phrases cannot really be a determiner of a fake account. Phrases such as “work from home” or “miracle diet” serve a very specific niche. They may sound spammy but there are legitimate users and accounts dedicated to these topics!
- Repeated content cannot determine whether a fake account is legitimate or not.It is a known practice in social media management to recycle posts from the past – especially if they are original and have proven to be effective in the past. Also, there are users who make use of content aggregator services such as Paper.li to repost content that are proven to engage followers.
- As mentioned, these apps and websites are designed to provide you with accurate-looking data at the speed of light. If they claim to go through over 2,000 followers, they will not be able to go through a user’s entire following. They are probably only able to sift through the most recent activities, which is not a comprehensive take on data.
We have to point out that bought followers from reputable social media boosting companies are able to pass the tests unhitched and undetected because they are genuine followers – just really untargeted.
The predetermined criteria mentioned above does not accurately represent the vast majority of Twitter users – while they are great in hindsight, further inspection should be able to tell you otherwise.
These days, everyone is susceptible to fake followers even without having to resort to purchasing. Having fake followers on your account doesn’t necessarily mean you purchase followers – it just means you are a normal citizen of the internet.
These fake followers make big promises they can’t really keep. In our opinion, fake follower checkers are just big fat… fakes.