Half of Joe Biden’s Twitter followers are fake, audit reveals

Biden Delivers Remarks in Washington, D.C.

Nearly half of President Joe Biden’s current 22.2 million Twitter followers are fake accounts, according to an audit tool provided by software company SparkToro.

SparkToro’s tool revealed that 49.3% of accounts following the official @POTUS Twitter account are “fake followers” based on analysis of a number of factors including location issues, images default profile and new users.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is currently trying to buy Twitter, has expressed concerns about the number of fake accounts and a potential crackdown could see users such as Biden lose large numbers of followers.

Musk said Tuesday morning that his $44 billion deal to buy the social media company could not go ahead until issues with fake accounts were resolved and he appeared to criticize the Twitter CEO , Parag Agrawal.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks during the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on May 15, 2022. An audit found nearly half of Biden’s Twitter followers are fake.
Stefani Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

Musk, the world’s richest man, claimed that 20% of Twitter accounts were “fake/spam” and that figure was “4 times what Twitter claims, could be *much* higher”.

“My offer was based on the accuracy of Twitter’s SEC filings,” Musk wrote. “Yesterday the CEO of Twitter publicly refused to show proof of <5%. This deal can't move forward until it does."

It’s unclear how Musk arrived at the 20% figure. He and Agrawal exchanged a series of tweets on Monday about the issue of fake accounts.

“We suspend more than half a million spam accounts every day, usually before you even see them on Twitter. Every week, we also lock millions of accounts that we suspect are spam, if they do not pass human verification tests (captchas, phone verification, etc.),” ​​Agrawal wrote.

The Twitter CEO also said the company estimated “every quarter” that less than 5% of monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) were spam accounts.

Musk first responded to Agrawal’s 13-tweet thread with a poop emoji and later wrote, “So how do advertisers know what they’re getting for their money? It’s fundamental to the financial health of Twitter.”

There has been speculation that Musk may be using the fake accounts problem to negotiate a better deal for Twitter. Twitter’s share price is now $36.80 per share, significantly lower than the $54.20 per share offered by Musk.

SparkToro defines fake followers as “accounts that are inaccessible and will not see tweets from the account (either because they are spam, bots, propaganda, etc., or because they are no longer active on Twitter).”

The software company’s tool also revealed that Biden’s account had more fake followers than most.

Musk’s account has over 93.3 million followers and SparkToro’s tool found that 70.2% of those accounts are fake.

Musk announced on Twitter on Friday that the agreement to buy the company was “temporarily suspended pending details supporting the calculation that spam/fake accounts indeed represent less than 5% of users.”

Twitter has been reporting this 5% estimate since 2019 and it has been mentioned in the company’s last 11 quarterly reports.

Musk’s decision to suspend the deal sent Twitter’s share price tumbling 15% in premarket trading on Friday.

Newsweek asked the White House and Twitter for comment.