Donald Trump may have 27.6 million Twitter followers, but more than a quarter of them are fake accounts, trolls, and novice users.
That’s according to a new piece out from Bloomberg’s Polly Mosendz, which took a deep dive into Trump’s Twitter following. What Mosendz found was that Trump’s Twitter following is largely made up of eggs: users who never changed their profile picture to a more personalised image and were stuck with Twitter’s previous default image, an egg.
Using data from Social Rank, a startup that helps brands and celebrities analyse their Twitter followers, Bloomberg reports that more than 7.5 million of Trump’s followers are eggs, which equates to about 28% of his total following.
Egg accounts have long been associated with bad behaviour on Twitter. While they’re not necessarily always trolls or automated bots, egg accounts often get a bad reputation on the site for being perpetrators of harassment and bullying. Last month, Twitter attempted to curb some of that behaviour by ditching the egg for a new default image: a silhouette of a disembodied head and shoulders, aimed at encouraging people to “upload their own photos for more personal expression.”
Social Rank’s CEO Alex Taub told Bloomberg that with any large Twitter following comes a large egg following. That may be because the user bought followers (which are often bots that only serve to inflate follower count), or because they were purchased by someone targeting that user.
But Trump has long been popular with eggs. Even before the election, when Trump’s following was only at 7.58 million, he still had the most egg followers of any candidate for president, according to FiveThirtyEight. In April 2016, 8% of Trump’s followers were fake, compared to 7% of Hillary Clinton’s, 4% of Bernie Sanders’, and 3% of Ted Cruz’s.
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