It took me a few tries, but I finally got what I believe to be an accurate data set in my quest to eradicate my Twitter account of fake followers.
The key thing I was looking for is which is the most common account that my followers follow. I knew from my previous attempt at this that there was a common account they all followed that gave them away. Here are the top few:
Find_User_Names 2841 BoysGoneWild 2822 toptweets 2226 codinghorror 2126 shanselman 2095 danieltosh 2055 scottgu 1959 haacked 1849 BillGates 1844 ev 1806 StumbleUpon 1718 timoreilly 1637 ConanOBrien 1603 levarburton 1588 spolsky 1547
If only the culprit were obvious!
Strange thing here is that Find_User_Names is the same common account as in my previous scrubbing. If you inspect its Twitter page (I won’t dignify it with a link) you’ll see it has 30000+ followers, all of which I believe to be fake.
I think Find_User_Names is a follower purchasing site, which is very common. A coworker of mine tried a similar one to see if it really worked and got 2500 followers over night for $20.
BoysGoneWild is an interesting one. I believe that account (which is for a band, I checked so you don’t have to) purchased user names from the Find_User_Name service, hence all the common followers.
I expected to find 7000 fake ones. I found 2800. I’m still looking for other signs that might lead me to more, but I haven’t come up with anything yet. I never bought Twitter followers, so I don’t know how this happened to my account. However, I’m working to block and report them all as spam.
I’m interested in doing some more analysis over them. For everyone that follows me I have a list of who follows them, who they follow, the totals for those, their bios, etc. What else should I look for?
And finally, this was only made possible by the ~50 people who donated their API requests so I could make all these requests. To all of you, thank you!!