President Donald Trump’s love for Twitter and his popularity on the social platform is no secret, However, out of his nearly 28 million followers, more than a quarter of the accounts following him are fake, trolls and novice users, data by Social Rank analyzed by Bloomberg found.
Among Trump’s top 10 most-engaged followers on Twitter over the past 30 days, five of them were confirmed to be bots and three other accounts appeared to be bots, Bloomberg found. The bots are designed to constantly tweet to Trump.
For example, the account @EveryTrumpDonor has two jobs: mention Trump’s Twitter account every hour and reply to the president’s tweets twice a day. That account alone has posted more than 15,000 tweets, all of which provide information about Trump’s donors from the Federal Election Commission.
Data also shows Trump has more than 7.5 million egg accounts following, accounting for 28 percent of his followers.
The large number of Trump’s egg followers aren’t a new phenomenon. Looking back at last year before the election, Trump had more fake followers than his opponent Hillary Clinton and other presidential candidates. Trump had 8 percent of followers that were fake, according to a FiveThirtyEight April 2016 analysis. Clinton had 7 percent of fake followers, Bernie Sanders 4 percent and Ted Cruz 3 percent.
If an account on Twitter has a large following, the number of eggs accounts following the user also increases, Social Rank CEO Alex Taub told Bloomberg. That could be because the user bought followers or others targeting the user might have bought him or her followers. The followers that are bought are usually bots that work to increase the number of followers.
Egg account users don’t show their faces and usually engage in abusive behavior on Twitter — and this month, the social media site decided to do something about it. Twitter recently ditched the egg icon profile photo for a new gray, genderless avatar. The company hopes the new design will help “prompt more self-expression” and encourages people to upload their own pictures, since the new default picture looks more like a placeholder.