🚗 🚙 Turn your trusty old car into trustworthy journalism Learn more

Romney campaign says it’s not buying followers

John Moe Jul 23, 2012

Well, here’s a weird one. 140elect.com, a site dedicated to Twitter and politics, noticed a huge spike in followers to the official feed of the Romney campaign. 75,000 new followers in a day, which is a lot by any standards, but especially notable for a campaign that is trying to defeat an incumbent president and trailing him badly in follower count on Twitter. The increase appeared to be a one day, anomalous kind of thing and was back down again a day later, over the weekend. What was also noteworthy was that almost all of the followers appeared to be auto-generated, possibly spambots. This led to speculation that the Romney camp was so desperate that they were buying followers. The Romney team then denied that they were doing this and said they had no idea what was happening.
140elect.com theorizes that this is someone, could be just one person, planting this story to embarrass Romney. I’m not reporting it in order to do so but in order to point out that a HUGE number of “people” on Twitter are bots and that follower count is not a reliable metric for popularity and influence. 

There’s a lot happening in the world.  Through it all, Marketplace is here for you. 

You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible. 

Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.