By Yaël Ossowski | Special to Watchdog.org
After Twitter-savvy Newark Mayor Cory Booker‘s TMZ moment with a Portland stripper, the campaign for New Jersey’s special U.S. Senate election has focused in on the micro-blogging service.
While Booker’s Twitter influence can’t be denied, it turns out it can be somewhat overblown.
Out of Booker’s 1.4 million followers on the social media sharing website, over 795,000 are either fake or inactive, meaning they’re stagnant accounts with no tweets or activities, according to social media tracker StatusPeople.com.
Many online companies, such as BuyFollowers.net, offer to sell Twitter followers and Facebook fans controlled by computer and spam “bots,” boosting accounts by thousands of followers at a time.
A similar analysis by the Daily Mail revealed President Barack Obama‘s Twitter account had nearly 20 million fake Twitter followers, almost 80 percent of his entire account.
Steven Lonegan, Booker’s Republican opponent who is legally blind, doesn’t fare so well himself. With only 4,000 followers, 22 percent of them are either fake or inactive.
So while politicians may push their credentials on Twitter and social media as a method of reaching out to constituents, chances are bots and spam accounts will be included in that mix.
The New Jersey special election for U.S. Senate will be held Oct. 16.