As the 2016 presidential field continues to evolve, it is clear that social media is playing a major role in the relative success of campaigns on both sides of the political aisle. In addition to spikes in fundraising, debate analysts have also pointed to increases in Facebook fans and Twitter mentions as evidence of a candidate’s strong performance.
Digging further into the profiles behind those social media interactions, a recent investigation of the 2016 field’s Twitter followers revealed one candidate stands out for a dubious reason. More than 40 percent of Hillary Clinton’s roughly 4.65 million followers, TwitterAudit determined, are not real users.
@PolitixGal doesn’t surprise me. The Dems really love stuffing anything, voting booths, FB, elections..a few Twitter names with fakefriends.
— Elizabeth (@HartHyde) November 9, 2015
The prevalence of such so-called fake followers — often purchased in an effort to artificially inflate one’s social media presence — is the highest of any White House hopeful currently in the race. For the sake of comparison, her chief primary election rival, Bernie Sanders, boasts an above-average 90 percent authenticity rate.
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On the GOP side, more than 70 percent of most candidates’ followers have been connected to real individuals. The leader among Republicans is Rand Paul, for whom just over two in 10 Twitter followers were deemed fake.
Chris Christie represents the other extreme, with about 36 percent of his Twitter fandom found faulty.
With the exception of Clinton, however, each of the candidates met TwitterAudit’s 60-percent threshold to be considered a legitimate account.
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