Just days after Hillary Clinton entered in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, there is speculation that she is buying Twitter followers and Facebook fans to boost her social media presence.
The Daily Mail reports that at least 2 million out of Clinton’s 3.6 million Twitter followers are either fake or completely inactive. An audit done by Status People indicates that “at least 15 percent” (544,000) of her followers are completely fake, 41 percent are deemed inactive (no tweets or replies), and 44 percent are real people who actively use Twitter.
Clinton’s Facebook page also appears to be padded with purchased “likes,” similar to the fake or inactive Twitter followers. As of early Tuesday, her official Facebook account had almost 685,000 fans, and according to Vocativ, at least 46,000 of them list Baghdad, Iraq as their hometown.
“While most of her U.S. Facebook fans are older than 55… Clinton enjoys the support of younger Facebook fans with 66 percent of her Iraqi female fans and 67 percent of males aged between 18 and 34.”
How much does it cost to buy Twitter and Facebook followers? There are dozens of online companies that sell followers, and the price varies depending on how many you want added to your account. There are also fees for “extras” including automatic likes and retweets.
Devumi Social Media Marketing will add 100,000 followers to your Twitter account for a one-time payment of $397. Followers are added over the course of six or seven weeks. For an additional payment of $97, your Twitter posts will get at least 1,000 automatic daily retweets and favorites daily for one month. Facebook “likes” work the same way, with most companies charging around $300 for 10,000 likes that are added over time — usually in the range four to six weeks.
According to Digital Sherpa, the purchased followers are “low paid workers employed by ‘click farms'” to like and follow your Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. For a price, they will tweet, retweet and like your posts, but they won’t respond to tweets or comment on Facebook conversations.
Reports that Hillary Clinton may be padding her Twitter and Facebook accounts with fake followers isn’t the first time the Democratic presidential candidate has been in the news for buying social media fans. The Huffington Post reports that in 2013, while Clinton was Secretary of State, the State Department spent $630,000 buying Facebook fans.
“The State Department, which has more than 400,000 likes and was recently most popular in Cairo, said it would stop buying Facebook fans after its inspector general criticized the agency for spending $630,000 to boost the numbers. Clinton left the agency while the inspector general was investigating.”
Fake followers or not, Hillary Clinton’s official presidential campaign launch on social media was a huge success on Sunday, with her Twitter post alone getting more than 103,000 retweets and almost as many favorites.
I’m running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. –H https://t.co/w8Hoe1pbtC
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 12, 2015
[Image: Getty Images/Win McNamee]