Photo: Business Insider
We’ve already reported that Twitter has a big problem with fake accounts—and that it’s become big business to sell these fake accounts to people looking to boost their Twitter followers.So what happens if you violate Twitter’s terms of service and buy followers? The answer: Not much, according to a guy who tried it a couple of weeks ago.
We heard from David B. this morning about how he bought himself about 70,000 followers, overnight, for $25 from some businesses he found on Fiverr.com, a site that lets you advertise what you are willing to do for $5.
David B. is a longtime Twitter user. He’s had an account since 2006, way back when the service was still called Twttr. Over the years, he built up about 400 followers—real people he actually knows.
Earlier this year, he was working for a startup willing to try lots of crazy stunts to get the word out on its new product.
So one night, after a few drinks, David B. decided to buy followers for his company’s account. It seemed like a good idea at the time. He was sober enough to try it first with his own account and not the company account, since buying followers can get an account banned. He contacted five vendors on Fiverr, each offering to add between 4,000 to 21,000 followers to his account. Total cost: $25.
The next morning, he had about 75,000 followers—all fake bot accounts.
And then … nothing.
“I don’t get any additional retweets off them,” he told Business Insider.
If Twitter noticed that a guy with 400 followers for years suddenly had 70,000 more overnight, they kept their mouths shut. His account wasn’t flagged or banned.
David B. told us that most of the fake accounts look real enough, with pictures and normal-sounding Tweets. They are hard to tell from the real deal.
As we previously reported, there are ways to use these bots to get more Twitter juice. You can also pay the botmasters to retweet a tweet to try and make it land on a trending list.
But a better idea is save your money. Fewer followers made up of real people is better than 70,000 robot friends, and David B. will be the first to tell you that.