How to Spot Fake Followers

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You may have seen me tweeting about fake followers. I figured a blog post may be more constructive and hopefully helpful, as well as getting it off my chest. I’ve noticed a lot of “fake followers” and likes on Instagram and Twitter accounts I follow (or I should say followed). I’m not going to name any names here but I urge you all to check people’s twitter and Instagram accounts (I’ll tell you how you can do these checks further down). Let me tell you, I am shocked! I couldn’t believe how many had fake followers, perhaps I’m naive but I was really surprised. 

I should point out most accounts will have some fake followers, unfortunately this is just part and parcel of social media. However, there are measures you can take to resolve the problem of having a large amount of fake followers through no fault of your own. If you think you have a fake follower it’s best to block and/or report them. On twitter it’s pretty easy to spot, there’s usually none of their own content in their timeline and it’s all RTs. With Instagram fake accounts usually ask if you want 5000 (or whatever) followers for $40, so you know you can’t miss them! Or they’ll have profiles like the one’s below. It might be tempting to keep them to bump up your follower count but in the long run it weakens your own profile. Keep fake followers as low as you possibly can. It’ll look better for you overall. 

Followers are often seen as being vital for your blog’s worth, especially if you want to work with brands etc. You’ll often find remits on blogger outreach such as Bloggers Required asking for a certain amount of social media followers. If you have a high follower count it follows that you have significant reach, right? Well, definitely not always. I maintain that it’s more important to have an engaged audience than a fake high follower count. What’s the point in having fake followers if you can’t interact with them? PRs and brands need to check the legitimacy of people’s followers. Your brand/product can’t be promoted and ultimately purchased by fake followers. Twitter followers can be checked relatively straight forwardly but Instagram is a little bit different.

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HOW TO CHECK FAKE FOLLOWERS

How to spot on Twitter: It’s relatively easy to spot fake followers on Twitter with the help of tools such as Twitter Audit and Fake Followers Check . These use algorithms to work out fake followers. Twitter Counter let’s you see rapid increases in followers or rapid drops. Another way is to see how many “eggs” follow someone or accounts with little or no tweets. It’s easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for.

How to spot on Instagram: Instagram has to be checked manually, there’s isn’t auditing sites available like those for Twitter but it’s still pretty easy to spot fake followers. One of the signs is a sudden surge in follower numbers but then miraculously stops. I literally saw someone’s account going from around 5000 ( I have doubts those were legit followers to begin with) to around 11k overnight. It’s now stopped growing. If you have a look at their followers you’ll often see names such as Algedasad, Shiou1t etc, just nonsense names that have been randomly generated. The fake accounts either don’t have a bio or again it’s randomly generated like these:

And, to make it even more blindingly obvious accounts such as this will follow the purchaser:

But it’s not only fake followers it’s also fake likes which are a problem. Again, these are easy to spot. They’ll look very similar to the fake followers: randomly generated names and bios (if they have any). Usually the fake likers are the same as the fake followers. Fake followers and fake likes are actually against Instagram’s community guidelines, so reporting them is always an option, Instagram say:

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“Foster meaningful and genuine interactions.

Help us stay spam-free by not artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares, posting repetitive comments or content, or repeatedly contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent.” (source

I don’t know why people ultimately buy fake likes and followers. Perhaps it’s an ego thing, or perhaps it’s to make your blog look more important than it is. Or perhaps it’s the adage “fake it until you make it” (awful, isn’t it?). Whatever the reasoning I suggest just not doing it, it really isn’t a good look and will do more damage in the long run. It’s wilfully deceitful and just erodes trust. You’re bound to be caught out eventually, either by people like me randomly stumbling upon an anomaly or by a purge either by Twitter or Instagram. It may be harder but building and working on engaging content is more fulfilling and interacting with real people is surely better. Having a small but engaged audience is worth so much more than the perception of a large follower account. Stay true to yourself, integrity is vital. 

For further reading I found these articles really useful:

Fake Followers Will Never be Your Friends by The Wonder Forest

A Word of Warning: Buying Fake Followers Isn’t Worth the Aggro by London Beauty Queen

How To Check if a Brand has Fake Likes and Followers by Social Draft 

Have you experienced this? What are your thoughts?


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12 Comments

  1. November 2, 2015 / 12:20 am

    Finally someone said it! The amount of fakeness that goes on baffles me! Especially on Twitter when people have a remarkable amount of followers so they look "twitter famous" when in actual fact they've either paid or begged for followers.
    Instagram fakes annoy me most; i will post a picture and wihtin 2 seconds i am tagged in a "buy followers" picture. I blocked the tagger and the account who creates these pictures.

    Much love,
    Lauren "Sweetened Sour" O'Hara
    http://lauren-ohara-x.blogspot.com

    • November 2, 2015 / 10:28 am

      you're exactly right, it is baffling! I dont think I'll ever understand why people do it, it's pretty sad really xx

    • December 8, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      unfortunately it's not just new people that are doing it. Longstanding bloggers are purchasing fake followers to great benefit it seems. It's incredibly unfair to those who've worked harder but aren't reaping the rewards because of perceived low follower count.

  2. March 31, 2016 / 1:22 pm

    I just checked my twitter followers and I'm glad to see my fake followers are low, I'm off to see if i can find who they are now lol. Thanks lovely 😘

    • April 1, 2016 / 10:03 am

      ha well I was VERY surprised to see who was doing it, and still doing it. To say I'm a bit jaded is an understatement xx

  3. May 6, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    Thanks for doing this post. I will use the Twitter tools you mentioned to weed out the fakes.its still early days for me and my blog, but quality over quantity is of great importance to me. Engagement with your followers is what will keep them coming back as well. Great read! ��

    • May 6, 2016 / 7:55 pm

      thanks for reading! there will always be a few fake followers following you due to the nature of twitter etc so i wouldnt worry too much if you have a few, when you have 1000s that a bit of a problem ;D

  4. June 15, 2016 / 9:36 am

    I find fake followers on Instagram particularly irritating. I'm aware of a blogger where the majority of her followers and fake and it can be clearly seen by the lack of actual likes & interaction on her account. It's such a sad state of affairs.

    • June 15, 2016 / 9:57 am

      it really is. There's one I've noticed who has around 1500-2000 likes on each photo but barely any actual comments. When you look at the people liking it is by far mainly fake follower accounts, such a shame. And I would class this person as being a 'big' blogger :/

  5. July 21, 2016 / 10:53 am

    I've always struggled with knowing whether someone has fake followers, so thank you for posting this! Something I am pretty good at is spotting people who follow you just for you to follow back & then they unfollow you a day or two later. I've seen a big increase this week in the number of 'bigger' Instagram accounts follow me. I don't think a single one has stayed following me after a day or two though. I find it disheartening, but hopefully its just the next step to some of those accounts following me & staying put. I'd much rather fewer followers who engage & enjoy my content than a big (but fake) following. Xx

    Tania | When Tania Talks

  6. January 18, 2017 / 2:35 pm

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