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At least HALF of Joe Biden's Twitter followers are FAKE! Audit backs Elon Musk's concerns

'Fake followers are accounts that are unreachable and will not see the account’s tweets' according to SparkToro
UPDATED MAY 18, 2022
Joe Biden's official Twitter account has 22.2 million followers (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Joe Biden's official Twitter account has 22.2 million followers (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

At least half of President Joe Biden's 22.2 million Twitter followers are fake, a new audit revealed. The audit — conducted for the social media giant by software startup SparkToro — discovered that 49.3% of the accounts following the official @POTUS Twitter account are "fake" based on an analysis of a number of factors, including location issues, default profile images, and new users.

"Fake followers," according to SparkToro, are "accounts that are unreachable and will not see the account’s tweets (either because they’re spam, bots, propaganda, etc. or because they’re no longer active on Twitter)."

The SparkToro data seems to back Tesla CEO — and potential Twitter buyer — Elon Musk's concerns about the growing number of bogus accounts. Musk wants to acquire Twitter but seems to have got cold feet in recent days reportedly because of this very issue.


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Musk claims that 20% of all Twitter accounts are false and has threatened to cancel his $44 million purchase of the social media behemoth until the problem is remedied. "My offer was based on Twitter's SEC filings being accurate," Musk explained. He also appeared to criticize Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal: "Yesterday, Twitter's CEO publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal cannot move forward until he does."

It is not clear how Musk arrived at the 20% figure, however, the SparkToro numbers would definitely blow up the assumption that the number is below 5%.

Elon Musk (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue)

Musk and Agrawal exchanged a series of tweets about the issue of fake accounts on Monday.

Agrawal wrote: "We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam, if they can't pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc)." He also said the company has estimated "every quarter" that less than five percent of monetizable daily active users (mDAU) were spam accounts.

Musk initially responded to Agrawal's 13-tweet thread with a poop emoji and later wrote: "So how do advertisers know what they're getting for their money? This is fundamental to the financial health of Twitter."

There has been speculation that Musk may be using the fake accounts issue to negotiate a better deal for Twitter, according to Newsweek. Twitter's stock price is now $36.80 per share, significantly less than the $54.20 per share that Musk has offered.

Many Twitter users shared their views where one user wrote, "This is amazing. I spent less than 5 minutes after reading your post. All these 0 or 1 follower. @elonmusk is right. The number of fake accounts on @twitter is astounding. The Twitter nerds needed to increase the followers for that failure." 


Another user wrote, "Yeah every single follower I clicked on of @POTUS was a bot. I clicked on at least 30 random just scrolling and clicking," while this other user, "I’ve done 5x 20 follower lookups using the @POTUS account and bypassing the first 2,500 followers and then picking one account every 69-74 followers. It’s often difficult to decipher a real user, but being generous, it seems to be averaging 8 in every 20 as *real* users."