To adapt the age-old adage to our era of statistical fame: the more the followers, the merrier it is. So, to acquire them, people are now buying it in what is a burgeoning Twitter black market.
A recent study, published by Barracuda Labs, reveals a Twitter practice that’s been in existence for a while now: an underground economy of phony accounts and fake followers.
At least 11,283 Twitter users had purchased more than 72,000 fake followers. That’s big business for “dealers,” who can make “as much as $800/day for 7 weeks of selling followings, if they can control 20,000 fake accounts.”
Search for the word “Twitter,” and you’ll find a plethora of accounts offering to get you scores of followers. The average price of buying 1,000 followers is $18. But at Fiverr, the five-dollar marketplace, for a mere $5, one can get a large herd to follow one in about 24 hours.
But when you pay a Twitter pimp to get you followers, you’re actually getting a swarm of bots—not humans—to tail you, who won’t retweet you, Favorite you, or reply to you. Then again, if its numbers alone one seeks, then that’s all one gets. The average number of following for a fake account is 1,799.