Celebrities and companies like to splurge on social media with lots of followers and fans. In truth, however, their profiles are full of bots and fake profiles. This was the result of a study by the marketing consultant Sortlist, in which the profiles of the 320 most-followed accounts were scrutinized.
The list of profiles with the most false followers is led by influencer Jay Alvarrez with 36 percent fake followers. But celebrities like Paris Hilton, Caitlyn Jenner or Nicki Minaj are also well ahead in the statistics with almost 30 percent. The clubs and companies with the most false followers include Leicester Football Club, Pizza Hut, Burger King and Victoria’s Secret.
The ten companies with the most fake followers are:
Pizza Hut – 30 percent fake followers (1.8 million total followers)
Victoria’s Secret – 28 percent (70.5 million)
Burger King – 28 percent (1.9 million)
Krispy Kreme – 28 percent (1.9 million)
KFC – 28 percent (1.7 million)
Subway – 28 percent (1.4 million)
Wendy’s – 28 percent (1.1 million)
Nike – 27 percent (177.6 million)
McDonald’s – 27 percent (4.2 million)
Taco Bell – 27 percent (1.5 million)
There is also a relatively high proportion of fake followers in sports teams and especially in soccer teams. The English club Leicester City FC, for example, has 32 percent of “false” fans in the overall ranking of the Sortlist survey. West Ham FC follows in fourth place (30 percent) and the German national soccer team in eighth place (29 percent ).
For many influencers and companies, followers and likes are not just a status symbol, but also a business model. The number of followers represents an enormous monetary value for them to work with brands or other cooperation partners. Of course, if the number is artificially increased and some of the followers are in reality not real, this means a much smaller range for paid posts than originally assumed.
The monetary added value through fake followers therefore also has its downsides, says Aline Strouvens from Sortlist: “A large number of fake followers can be an advantage, because influencers appear more popular and more influential than they are. However, they can also become a problem by questioning the commercial value and reach of an influencer and the exact representation of their followers for business partners. “