So why are we all of a sudden, talking about fake accounts on social networks so much?
Well, a few weeks ago we were hit with this: Facebook has 83 million fake accounts.
First you thought, who cares, how does that affect me, right? But 15 minutes later you started wondering if it would be possible that some of your Facebook Page fans are in fact fake accounts. And the smile of your face slowly vanished.
The same happens with Twitter.
Why is this important?
You work hard to reach real people and engage with them, not bots. Unless you only care about the pretty fan/following count.
If you have a Twitter account or a Facebook Page to market your business, chances are you do look at the size of your following, regardless what everybody says about “numbers” (yes, picture me doing air quotes). How else are you supposed to have an idea of how many people will potentially see you when you post content.
What if today you realized you are talking to only 65% of the following you thought you had? Robots, spam and all that crap is part of the Internet and you will not eliminate it but, it will be nice to have digits that are closer to reality, don’t you think?
Here is how to put your Twitter account to the test
The app takes a sample of about 500 followers and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria. It looks for accounts that have very few or no followers or very low to no activity (number of tweets), to calculate a percentage.
It is more accurate if your Twitter account has 10,000 followers or less but, it claims to provide a good insight of the possible number of fake accounts if you have a larger following. Most of the analytics you use to measure activities online are based on sample data anyways.
How it works
You simply connect to your Twitter account and let it run its process, it will typically take a few minutes to gather the necessary data.
And it will provide you with percentages for “Fake”, “Inactive” and “Good” accounts within your following. Check out the below image:
I think I’ll consider the results for @SocialMouths to be normal, specially because it’s not a huge following (shy of 23k at the time I wrote this). This means that approximately 230 accounts are fake and 2,760 are inactive.
Of course we all know very popular Twitter accounts tend to have a larger percentage of dead accounts, it has always been that way. To check if Fake Follower Check will pick on that, I ran a test for Mashable, an account with close to 3 million followers. Here are the results:
51% good. Ouch.
Don’t panic, this is a simple exercise to get a better idea of how healthy your Twitter following is. I guess if your numbers reflect an extraordinary number of fake accounts then you’ll have to see what you’re doing wrong but otherwise, it’s good to know what kind of potential for reach your account has.
This also provides a reality check on what the social networks claim when it comes to user count. Google+ for example opens an account automatically when somebody gets a Gmail account… that’ll give you an idea.
Have you run the test yet? What did you find?