In Meld magazine’s comparison of eight political leaders from the US, Australia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak topped the list for having the largest proportion of fake followers on Twitter. As a matter of fact, a recent check using Fake Follower Check showed a whopping 70% of Prime Minister Najib’s 1.5 million followers were fake.
He was followed by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 55% and 54% respectively. Just under half of US President Barack Obama’s 13.1 million followers were found to be fake, and for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 36% of her 130,680 followers were fake.
Those who have done well include Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with 62% of his more than 25,000 following made up of engaged or “good” followers, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe whose engaged followers numbered at 58% of 81,200.
These figures show that perhaps numbers tell only part of the story when it comes to determining popularity and influence.
Thomas Tudehope, social media expert from social@Ogilvy and former advisor to Australian Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull, says Twitter users can easily purchase followers starting from 100 and upwards to 10,000 followers at varying prices.
But he believes politcians or their representatives, would rarely make the decision to purchase the followers themselves.