Fashion icons, makeup gurus, or pop stars – influencers have become some of the biggest names on social media over the past few years. Many envy their fame, seemingly glamorous lifestyle, and association with popular brands that bring them thousands of dollars for a single post.
Recently, however, it has become clear how easy it is to buy fake likes, comments, or followers on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. It turns out that anyone can fake being popular by simply purchasing thousands of subscribers from dedicated online agencies – a tendency that is difficult to overcome by platforms. Along with the many social influencers that sometimes buy these bots, many celebrity influencers have also been found guilty of having a massive fake following. The team at CasinoGuardian decided to look at the accounts – whether owned by celebrities or not – that have amassed the highest percentage of fake followers on Instagram.
Interestingly, the list features famous musicians and TV personalities, including Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, and Khloe Kardashian. However, the people with the fakest followers are influencers who gained fame on social media.
In order to check influencers’ followers on Instagram, the team at BI used the free Instagram fake follower auditing tool by Modash. It automatically analyses accounts using a variety of metrics, and provides stats such as follower count, engagement rate, fake followers and popular content.
Typically, you would spot a fake account by looking at several things – bots have strange names and no personal information shared on their page, while their comments are usually irrelevant, out of context, or simply generic phrases such as “Amazing!” or “Great photo”. They contain no posts. Accounts with a large percentage of fake followers tend to have a lower engagement rate – far below 1%. In other words, their posts attract much fewer likes and comments than expected when considering the large follower count.
What Are Fake Social Media Followers?
Bots, fake or spam accounts are inauthentic accounts that imitate real persons on social media websites. They are created by hackers and agencies for various purposes – some are designed to post malicious links, some share fake news and are designed to influence social opinions, mainly on political issues. Other bots simply subscribe to or follow different users in order to artificially boost their following.
It is not always easy for platforms to identify and remove bots – as soon as a thousand of them are deleted, thousands more are created. In April, Elon Musk said he would do his best to finally tackle Twitter’s huge problem with fake accounts. Even after acquiring the platform in late October, he still has not managed to fight the hordes of bots that have plagued the social media website for the past few years.
Fake followers are particularly problematic for brands wanting to work with influencers for advertising campaigns. Authentic influencers build a trustworthy reputation by being honest with their followers and by creating a genuine relationship. Having fake followers will ruin their reputation, as well as the image of the brand they collaborate with.
Why Would Celebrities Need Fake Followers?
It is easy to imagine that an aspiring social media influencer could resort to purchasing fake likes, comments or fake followers. But why would celebrities need them? In reality, most have not bought influence through bots – instead, they are simply victims of the same fraud that regular social media users are faced with because of the way that fake accounts work.
In order to imitate the accounts of real people, fake accounts feature a name and a profile photo (often stolen from other platforms), but rarely have a bio or other personal information. To appear active, they post generic comments and follow a certain number of accounts – for instance, 20 or 200. Logically, brands and famous people’s accounts attract the most bots. Celebrities with the highest percentage of fake followers on Instagram are Katy Perry, Kourtney Kardashian Barker, Khloe Kardashian, Chris Brown, and Miley Cyrus. Over 28 percent of their fans on the platform are estimated to be bots.
Influencers with the Most Fake Followers
Sometimes, young Instagram users who aspire to be famous influencers find it hard to become popular in the traditional way – by creating original, valuable content, targeting the right audience and being honest and genuine in what they do. Some of them might buy fake likes, comments, and followers, increasing their visibility and stats artificially.
Whether the influencers on the list below have purchased bots or not, a huge number of their followers are believed to be fake. These include the Dubai-based, Iraqi-American beauty influencer and owner of cosmetics line Huda Beauty, British TV presenter, model, and fashion designer Alexa Chung, and popular YouTuber and professional boxer Jake Paul.