Twitter bots can hurt your account’s credibility, mess up your Twitter data and lower your engagement. So, how can you detect Twitter bots that follow you? twtData can help.
According to a New York Times report, there has been a rapid resurgence in the number of fake Twitter followers swarming the Twittersphere, and even Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey’s account was affected.
A report published on CNBC in 2017 claimed that there were nearly 48 Million fake Twitter accounts live on the platform. In July 2018, Twitter started wiping out millions of fake accounts, according to Vox. This move aimed to control the spread of misinformation. Bot accounts create fake trends and spread fake news, resulting in the complete annihilation of Twitter’s authenticity.
The accounts that are followed by bots and fake accounts risk losing credibility and being spammed as well. Digital marketers who need clean data to analyse Twitter performance of accounts should delete bot accounts from their followers.
So how exactly can you detect bot accounts and fake followers? What are the traits exhibited by a bot account? How can you be sure whether the account is fake or is simply inactive and belongs to a real person?
Let’s go over the indicators of a simple bot account:
- The account seems to have a generic or fake handle name (i.e @user1294523)
- It tweets all the time or likes and retweets a lot.
- It has no profile picture. Although this doesn’t always mean an account is run by a bot unless combined with other indicators on this list.
- The account’s bio is either generic or empty. Bots can be set up by real people for different purposes. If its sole purpose is to increase someone’s following count, the account is likely to display no information.
- The following and follower ratio can also give away if an account is fake or a bot. If an account is following 10K users, and yet they are only followed by 3, this is a definite indicator of a bot account.
- A Twitter account’s tweets are its most important assets. Either a very high count of tweets or a low count of tweets can also point to a fake or bot account.
- An account’s creation date can also indicate if it’s a bot account or not. Twitter bots tend to be newly created accounts when they are used to increase followers or spread fake news.
There are also platforms like TwitterAudit that claim to identify fake Twitter followers from any account. However, a report by TowardsDataScience concluded that the platform’s algorithms weren’t designed for auditing accounts with millions of followers.
Why Do Twitter Bots Detector Algorithms Fail?
The TowardsDataScience report pointed out a few issues that nullify the fake Twitter bots detectors currently available to us. Using machine learning algorithms, these bots detectors claim to separate real accounts from fake. In order to identify fake Twitter followers from any account, the bot detector first needs to download the entire list of Twitter followers before performing an audit on all of them.
The fake Twitter bots detectors perform the analysis on a seemingly smaller set of followers that it picks up randomly and performs an audit on them. This random list of Twitter followers can contain only real followers, only fake followers, or a healthy mix of both. You never know what section or part of your Twitter followers list is analysed.
Downloading followers from accounts that have a million of them is not an easy task and even the fastest tools out there will take several hours, if not days to download the entire followers' list and then perform an audit.
Using twtData to Detect Twitter Bots
Twitter Analytics platform twtData can save you the money and time to find and use an accurate Twitter bots detector. The primary flaw that we observed in the auditing process was their inability to download the entire list of Twitter followers from any account.
twtData changes that. The platform allows you to download the list of Twitter followers or followings from virtually any account. You can get a follower data report using twtData for an account and get a list of detailed information that can help you in performing a manual and detailed analysis of your followers.
The contents of the followers' report are as follows:
- Account Name: The name or the brand name of the Twitter account holder. If this name seems generic or fake, the account may be fake.
- Screen Name: The name which the follower has opted to display. Again, a generic or seemingly fake name denotes that an account is fake.
- Account’s Twitter Bio: This is the section that appears below the account name and Twitter handle of an account. Fake account creators usually do not fill out the Twitter bio section and if an account exhibits this characteristic, it should be on your ‘maybe fake’ list.
- Followers count: This metric denotes the account-specific following of the follower from the target account. If an account has a significantly larger following count as compared to their followers' count, this is a sign of a fake Twitter account.
- Friends count: Friends are the accounts that the targeted account follower follows. Again, a significant disproportion in terms of followers and friends is a metric of fake accounts.
- Listed counts: Listed counts denotes the number of lists a specific follower has created in their account. If an account has a higher number of lists, it is a metric of authenticity and the account may be healthy.
- Account Creation Date: This metric provides the account creation date and time. A very useful detail that helps in identifying fake followers. Fake accounts tend to be newer and are usually created just in time to spread fake news of propaganda.
- Account Verified Status: Accounts that are verified by Twitter to be genuine, of noteworthy presence, and belonging to an authenticated real person are listed as ‘True’ or ‘False’ in the report. Account verification status is denoted by a blue tick that appears on the right of a Twitter account name.
- Statuses count: This is simply the number of tweets that the listed follower has sent out from their account. Fake accounts tend to have 0 or extremely low-status count.
- Contributors enabled: This is the count of users that have access to the followers' Twitter account. Business accounts usually have a higher contributor figure than individual users. This is a positive metric and is usually exhibited by accounts managed by real persons.
You can get detailed followers to report for any Twitter account using twtData’s follower download option and verify these metrics by yourself. If any account matches the 4 or more indicators above, it is most likely to be a fake account.
Since you have all the raw data at your hands, the analysis becomes perfectly accurate, and getting the final outcome just becomes a matter of stifling through the data using Excel commands.
twtData is currently working on a feature that uses machine learning algorithms that can evaluate an entire list of followers. If you're interested in this service, please contact us at sales@twtData.com.
How to Download List of Twitter Followers and Identify Fake Twitter Followers?
twtData enables you to download the list of Twitter followers from virtually any account seamlessly. The platform is highly intuitive and even first-time users won’t experience any difficulties in navigating the well-laid-out interface. Here is a breakdown of the steps involved in downloading the list of Twitter followers and leveraging the data for identifying fake Twitter followers:
- Navigate to www.twtData.com
- Type in the targeted Twitter account handle.
- Enter your email for the report to be delivered.
- Choose your preferred file format for the followers' report (.CSV/.xlsx).
- Click on ‘Get Price or Free Sample’.
- Complete the payment.
As soon as you complete the payment, the followers' list from the target account will start getting generated and you will have a complete list of Twitter followers delivered to your email. twtData is one of the fastest platforms for Twitter data retrieval, and you will be provided with the report generation time before you make a payment. The price and time are usually dependent on the number of followers in the target account.
It’s absolutely certain that fake Twitter followers are a real menace for brands and noteworthy personalities alike. They not only spread misinformation of troll legit users, but the sheer possibility of Twitter bots messing up your account analytics is also a problem that is currently experienced by millions of marketers globally. Therefore, it falls on all of us to take care of this problem as a team and tackle this fake follower epidemic.
If you want to run a detailed analysis on your Twitter followers and identify fake, bot, and inactive accounts, contact us at sales@twtData.com to get a quote.