Everyone likes followers. On Wednesday, when chief minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter account touched one million followers, he tweeted, “A million followers! These are not mere numbers but it signifies your love and affection. Heartfelt thanks to you all”.
However, all the love and affection Modi is overwhelmed with might not be all genuine. Modi, who is often accused by Congress leaders of misleading people with numbers, has around 50 per cent of his Twitter followers as fake.
The website through an algorithm measures false and inactive followers of a Twitter user.
Modi started using Twitter in 2009 and in 2010, had one lakh followers. About a year ago, in November 2011, he had four lakh followers. But his following on Twitter increased exponentially in the last few months.
Creators of the internet tool, launched to expose fake users of personalities on Twitter, say that almost all Twitter accounts have a small percentage of false followers, partly because, unlike Facebook, any user can follow another. However, they say that worldwide personalities and brands get fake following to increase their importance among peers.
Congress leaders Arjun Modhwadia and Shaktisinh Gohil too have 5 per cent and 14 per cent fake followers, respectively.
“A celebrity’s or politician’s popularity is measured with their followers on social networking sites which might lure many to get fake followers. Like other forms of corruption, activists should also expose such fake followers because this misleads public,” said communication expert Alyque Padamsee.
While these politicians may not have paid for getting fake followers, there are companies on web who can offer services to get fake followers.
Abhijit Sonagara, director of a city-based cyber solutions company, says, “Getting fake followers has become common. Several companies offer such service for 10 paise to 50 paise per fake follower. Many times it’s the celebrities themselves or their PR managers who indulge in such activities.”
A BJP spokesperson, however, said that it’s Modi’s development agenda which is being endorsed across the world and that has got the large following.