Because Donald Trump is the president of the United States and the most famous person on the planet, one wouldn’t think he would need to employ a bot to boost his Twitter following. It appears, however, he might have done just that. As screenwriter John Niven pointed out Tuesday morning, Trump’s Twitter account saw an unusual spike in followers over the weekend, many of which appear to have been created artificially.
Trump currently has 31 million followers and, sure enough, if you browse through them you will find an unusual number of tweet-less, picture-less accounts that joined the service in May 2017. If you’re still curious, you can enter Trump’s handle, @realDonaldTrump, into Twitter Audit, a service that assesses the authenticity of one’s followers, and find that only 51 percent of Trump’s are real.
This isn’t the first time someone has pointed out that a good portion of Trump’s Twitter following is fake, but what’s interesting is that its fakeness seems to be increasing. In January, journalist Yashar Ali ran an audit on Trump’s Twitter account and found that 68 percent of his then-20 million followers were real. Now he’s at 30 million followers, but only 51 percent are real, which means of 10 million followers Trump has gained since January, about 8.3 million are fake.