back to article Did Mitt Romney really get 117,000 REAL Twitter followers in ONE DAY?

A network of developers and merchants has grown to service the market for fake Twitter followers. Selling bundles of 1,000 fake followers for the typical price of around $18 a day can bring in revenues of $800 per day, according to a study by security researchers at Barracuda Networks. Dealers also have the option of selling …


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  1. LarsG

    Put up job

    A put up job if ever there was.

    Bet if you asked him he wouldn't know what twitter was anyway.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Put up job

      The problem is Romney now represents the beast that is GOP. He, or someone on his campaign team, may well have done this, however it could as easily be the actions of one nutjob with a credit card who has just read about buying fake followers on Ebay.

      I've got a really bad feeling about this election. A Mormon slash and burn capitalist (from Bain, no less) as leader of the world's most powerful army.

      1. Shannon Jacobs

        Compare the personalities: Nixon/Goldwater 2012!

        Actually, I think Ryan is a fake intellectual, but not as dumb as Palin or Quayle. Nixon/Goldwater 2012 is a great fit for Romney, but something of a stretch for Romney.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Oh crap.

    By that definition, my twitter account is fake.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Its not "Mitt Romney" its "That Prick Romney"

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: Correction

      Well people do tend to forget the silent P.

      1. CJ Bill

        Re: Correction

        Silent 'p' as in bath?

      2. Mephistro Silver badge

        Re: Correction

        "Well people do tend to forget the silent P."

        Not if they have to wash their own clothes after the event..

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Too many tweets ...

      ... makes a twat, or so somebody said. Or maybe that should be "too many twitter followers makes a twat"

    3. Scott Broukell

      Re: Correction

      I read it as "Dim Wit Romney"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Correction

      We call him "Mittens" here...

      1. LateNightLarry

        Re: Correction

        We also call him Mittwitt, or Mitt the Twit. He should be glad his name isn't MOTT... as in Mott the Twa....

        Mittwitt, the man with the plastic personality, and Etch-A-Sketch memory.

        Beer, 'cause I need a whole brewery when I think about him and Mini-Mitt

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: Correction

          So why is it Americans go out of their way to pronounce as many words as possible with an 'aa' sound,only to totally remove it from the word 'twat', a word the rest of the English speaking world rhyme with Matt?

          I am genuinely curious.

          1. Killraven

            Re: Correction

            Based on the British television that I watch, rhymes with rot is about 50/50 commonality as rhymes with rat.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Correction

              Twot is used as a non-offensive pre-watershed version.

  4. ItsNotMe

    How utterly pathetic.

    The dumbing down of society is well under way.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Others have done it before

    Newt Gingrich and Kevin Rudd both have form in this.

  6. Tim 11

    "...erodes the overall value of the social network"

    hmm... and exactly what "value" is there in knowing when David Beckham has taken a dump?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "...erodes the overall value of the social network"

      WHAT??? OMG I need to tweet that.

      "Just heard, Beckham bending the brown trout. And to think I almost missed it! lol. #bending_brown, #like_Beckham"

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Obama racks up a hundred thousand or more instantaneously during the start of his presidential campaign and all the Media can do is grovel and scrape telling the world+dog that it's "proof" of the popularity of the "first internet savvy" presidential campaign. No questions asked.

    Romney gets similar numbers and all of a sudden, EVERY AP and tech outfit is running an article claiming they're all fakes in the headlines, while running the story with words like "suspect" and "probably" about the accounts, with no actual proof other than "well, it could be*.."

    methinks the Media/Entertainment Complex is projecting again. Want to know what the DNC has done, is doing or is planning? See what they're accusing everyone else of doing right now.

    The existence of an industry of fake twitter and Mao Brigade accounts DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY EQUAL "Romney's followers are fake", unless it ALSO "proves" Obama's followers are fake as well.

    Publishing more allegations without any proof, sounds awfully propaganda-ish to me.

    1. Schultz
      Thumb Down

      Which planet did you fall off?

      It sounds like your mind got an overdose of fair and balanced readjustments. No, there is no proof of Romney purchasing Twitter followers, but the following statement in the original article offers some strong indications: "Four in five of those new [Romney] follower accounts were created less than three months ago and, even more suspiciously, one in four of those accounts (23 per cent) had never sent a single tweet. One in 10 of the accounts have already been suspended by Twitter."

      You say: "Publishing more allegations without any proof, sounds awfully propaganda-ish to me."

      How do your baseless insinuations of Media/Entertainment Complex / DNC misbehavior improve on this?

      I call you a twat, go twit your bile elsewhere.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Which planet did you fall off?

        so has any of this investigative integrity EVER been applied to Obama's "popularity?

        Or is that a question you're unwilling to deal with?

        did you know there are also companies that manage false blog posting accounts for commercial and political causes?

        Which one are you working for?

        1. Big_Ted
          Big Brother

          Re: Which planet did you fall off?

          Its obvious who you support.......

          We really need to get rid of the AC setting to stop so many people who seem to post sensibly posting such rubbish or obvious troll crap just to stir things up.

          Note I didn't feel the need to go AC.......

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Which planet did you fall off?

            "We really need to get rid of the AC setting to stop so many people who seem to post sensibly posting such rubbish or obvious troll crap just to stir things up."

            Posted by Big_Ted who "didn't feel the need to go AC......."

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: We really need to get rid of the AC setting

            no we don't.

            the community of commentards can see off the shills and trolls

            and, in the context of the article, it would lead to the creation of a load of fake accounts and solve nothing

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: We really need to get rid of the AC setting

              yes we do.

              Otherwise why are you arguing with yourself?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: We really need to get rid of the AC setting

                I'm not, it's you.

                See, if it said big_ted up there, while not telling you who I am, it would allow you see which posts were from which user.

                Not tricky to understand...

        2. sabroni Silver badge

          @AC: 15:38

          Couldn't be arsed to finish reading the fucking article? Here, try this:

          "It is possible for anyone to buy followers for other Twitter users ... Romney’s newest followers could have been paid for by himself, his associates or by his opponents. So far, there is not a feasible way to confirm who is responsible."

          Get an account you anonymous pussy.

        3. ian 22

          Re: Which planet did you fall off?

          Hungering for Mitt's wit and wisdom? What deprived (should that be 'depraved') lives they lead.

    2. Ammaross Danan

      Re: waitaminnit

      From the article:

      "Dealers sometimes try to make fake profiles harder to detect by randomly following some famous and some average people, or posting tweets grabbed from the Twitter stream."

      Note the "randomly following some famous...people." What would be interesting is the unsaid: if Obama had any fake followers too. If the article's statement is to be assumed true, the accounts may be following one, the other, or both.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  8. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Did Mitt Romney really get 117,000 REAL Twitter followers in ONE DAY?

    Why not?

    Celeb twitter is rammed full of journo's hoping to get a story without any legwork.

    There are probably 117,000 crap journalists in the world, they'll have signed up about the same time.

  9. ukgnome

    Seems likey

    After all @paigetaylor has loads - hmm best not look as it's definitely NSFW

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two quotes that caught my attention....

    "The average dealer controls as many as 150,000 followers at a time"

    "Considering there were more than 11,000 abusers identified from only three purchases we made"

    So if the average followers is computed from the abusers they discovered then that must mean there are 1.6 billion fake followers on Twitter, which itself claims to have 500 million users. Someone is telling porkies...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Someone is telling porkies...

      I think you misunderstood - "dealers" are sellers of fake followers, "abusers" in this context are buyers of fake followers, identified by being followed by the same fake followers that the researchers had bought.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Someone is telling porkies...

        That's my reading error. I should have noticed:

        "Barracuda discovered 20 dealers..."

  11. Craig McGill 1

    The 2000 limit

    Twitter's first cutoff limit is 2000 followers - ie you can only follow 2000 people. If you want to follow more, you need to have 2000 people follow you first.

    There used to be limits at 4000 and higher as well but I don't think they are in place any more.

    This is a fairly well-known trick, it's why only numpties go by follower numbers (on any platform) and instead go for the a-bit-more-trustworthy metric of engagement or even sales/ROI.

    1. Mikel

      Not to give them a hint or anything...

      But if you have 20,000 bots and they each use 10% of their follows to follow each other, the problem is sorted.

  12. Feralmonkey
    Thumb Down


    Given the fact that many of the people that are looking to Romney have at best only heard of twitter peripherally there is the third possibility that many of them signed up when they were asked to at a rally or some other such place I myself only signed on to twitter to follow a few celebrity chefs and an artist I like and have only tweeted 3 or 4 times in the couple of years that I have been signed up. are there fakes out there yup did Romney and Obama get some who knows they can't be certain, so saying that they did without being able to show definitively is irresponsible at best.

    1. InsaneGeek

      your post is a perfect example of what's wrong

      Your post is a shining example of why politics is broken. It's obvious from your post that you pretty much believe only people who are already behind a candidate would want to listen to what they say. Personally I believe in having an open mind and listening to what everybody says rather than closing myself off from them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: your post is a perfect example of what's wrong

        Ah! So young and idealistic!

        We already know what they think, who is funding them and where their allegiances lie.

        Rule #1: If you don't hold the purse strings, you don't have control.

  13. Nick Gisburne

    What's the point?

    What's the point of having a million 'followers' if none of them are real? Isn't one of the basic ideas of Twitter supposed to be that you send out information to people who are interested in what you have to say? Then why buy a list of people who aren't actually people but fake accounts who will therefore never read your tweets? You might as well be delivering newspapers to empty houses. I don't get it.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: What's the point?

      It makes you look popular.

    2. InsaneGeek
      Black Helicopters

      Re: What's the point?

      Instead of thinking of how it directly benefits the candidates, think of how it benefits the people they giving money to make ads. Something like getting a certain amount of $$ per view, and that being able to increase the ammount of people you sent the ad to equating to getting more money from a candidate. Wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for someone to pay to signup a bunch of followers prior to an ad campaign inexpensively and then be able to charge more because of the increase number of "people" who were sent the ad.

  14. Alex Walsh

    I've never been a fan of Sacha Baron Cohen but I have to say his latest creation, this Mitt Romney fella, is the funniest thing I've seen this year.

  15. Juan Eggo

    The Hidden Hand

    Slightly off topic, but I've suspected (and not the first) that fake twitter profiles were used to great effect in Lybia, Egypt and now Syria

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: The Hidden Hand

      Sorry but that makes no sense except from the government angle, ie the government try to make it look like masses of people are following what they say as they support them.

      From the opposite side false following are a waste as you are calling on no one to meet and demonstrate as you might turn up with very few others and be easy to round up.

  16. Big_Ted

    So thats how to get an account deleted

    Now if only you could do the same with Facebook.....

  17. RainForestGuppy

    Is this the same Mitt Romney, who claimed there were security concerns about the London Olympics and that the British people weren't supporting it.... he got bitch slapped be Boris and Cameron, oh and then we had one of the greatest olympics of all time.

    Perhaps he just absorbed the followers of @Ireallyshouldnotopenmymouthinpublic

  18. Hollerith 1

    Proudly announcing 30 followers!

    I tweet reluctantly, to maintain my name, and I've felt badly over the fact that I have so few followers. Now, I see, it is the badge of authenticity. The few, the proud.

    1. Kirbini

      I've only 3 followers...

      Does that make me even more authentic than you?

      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: I've only 3 followers...

        LOL, how hard can it be to get followers? I have more followers than tweets but then I've only tweetled twice.

  19. asdf Silver badge

    sorry UK readers

    It must suck having to deal with ass clown circus that is our political system and of course because the US has never seen a country it didn't need to police or nation build (except its own) you do kind of have a dog in the fight. Americans got a slight taste of this with the Greeks being able at times to temporarily gimp our economy (which is why few have any sympathy for Greece having to go through austerity).

    1. Kirbini

      Re: sorry UK readers

      I would change that title to "sorry all non-US readers except Canadians"

      Cause, you know, fuck Canada.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. asdf Silver badge

        Re: sorry UK readers

        point taken and America's hat Canada unfortunately gets our dandruff as well. And to stir the pot some more basically the only primer you need on the US political system is we really have only two viable political parties and they refuse to do anything ever but spend our money and our grandkids money (each party on different stuff). We have the party of open evil and the party of incompetence. I leave to the reader to figure out which is which.

        1. Kirbini

          Don't forget...

          ... commas are your friend.

    2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: sorry UK readers

      "the US has never seen a country it didn't need to police or nation build (except its own)"

      Oh, that isn't quite true. We do a fair bit of internal nation building of our own all the time, it's just that sometimes we give it a different surname but the given name is always the same, "War on". It doesn't matter if it's a war on blight, smoking, drugs, terrorism, etc.; it always winds up being cast on our backs. Here's one that has been making the rounds lately, "United States v. 434 Main Street, Tewksbury, Mass." Yes, you read that right, the United States is suing(!?) real estate. Why? Here's your answer, it's a motel that rents rooms to almost anyone and helps the police when suspicious activity takes place. Funny thing is if they weren't so helpful the government might not be trying to take the property and stuff the police departments coffers. Don't think that is bad, have a look at the myriad cases in California where the local cops are trying to get the Fed to end run the asset forfeiture because California law is too strict. I won't even get into the Kelo case where the entire area has become a dumping ground because Pfizer pulled out before the town property whores got paid.

  20. hEdly

    How about Obama

    If there's anyone who is en empty suite follow by empty twitter accounts it would be the current Commander in Chief.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: How about Obama

      Granted his policies are fairly empty but unlike Mitt at least his personality is not as empty and each day not determined by the Mormon church elders. Honestly neither deserve to even manage a Dairy Queen.

      1. LateNightLarry

        Re: How about Obama

        I'm not sure either of them could manage a 1955 lemonade stand...

        But Mittwitt would be busy trying to bleed the lemonade stand of assets so he could sell the shell and move it to India, while Obama would be trying to keep it going in the winter with a foot of snow on the ground.

        Since I can't have wine, I'll sell for a glass of horse piss...

    2. Armando 123

      Re: How about Obama

      "If there's anyone who is en empty suite follow by empty twitter accounts it would be the current Commander in Chief."

      Hey, 10.8 million dead voters in Chicago can't be wrong. (We are talking about a state where, IIRC, something like 4 of the last 7 governors went to prison.)

      1. asdf Silver badge

        Re: How about Obama

        And there is never any corruption in red Southern states like Louisiana. Also IIRC some of those 4 governors were Republican. Both parties share little in ideology except the belief I got to get mine now.

  21. E 2


    John Leyden was probably trolling, you twits!

  22. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Down

    Ah Twitter...

    Where you have the best friends that money can buy.

  23. P. Lee Silver badge

    Channserv slaps you about with a wet trout

    and kicks you.

  24. Quinch

    That's a lot of hired followers

    I suppose he realized that an escort service can come with a bulk discount.

    The question remains - does he tip?

  25. Mikel

    Remember the KIN?

    300,000 Facebook fans, 300 units sold.

  26. Armando 123

    Well ...

    They're probably as legitimate as 117,000 voters in the city of Chicago ...

  27. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Not to give anyone any more hints

    But if Twitter chose to buy a few of the fakes themselves, they'd be able to see the patterns pretty quickly.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I worry not only for the fate of America but the rest of the world if Mitt gets elected. The man is a delusional, compulsive liar whose only truly strong, firmly held belief is the power of the upper class, and only the uppermost of them. Like himself.

    Also religious nuttery but I won't go into that here, lest it be perceived as hateful.

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