Two Italian security researchers, Andrea Stroppa and Carlo De Micheli, call out Twitter accounts that added or lost a large number of followers in one day. Their list includes brands like Pepsi, Mercedes-Benz and Louis Vuitton; politicians like Newt Gingrich, Representative Jared Polis and Dmitri Medvedev, the Russian prime minister; and the rappers 50 Cent and Sean Combs, known as Diddy.
“Many brands struggle to measure the top line value of social media,” Ms. Etlinger said. “So there is a thirst to show momentum in different ways, one of which is to show that the brand has a bigger audience today than it did yesterday.”
The researchers also call out Diddy, whose verified @iamdiddy account gained 185,399 Twitter followers one day last June — a 3,063 percent increase from the account’s average daily gain — and then inexplicably lost 393,665 followers one day last month, 6,504 percent more that his average daily follower loss. A representative for Mr. Combs did not return a request for comment.
Likewise, 50 Cent lost more than 190,342 Twitter followers over the course of one day last January, a 5,370 percent jump from his average daily follower loss. A representative for 50 Cent did not respond to a request for comment.
Mercedes added 28,283 followers one day in October 2012 — a 20,992 percent jump from the brand’s average daily follower gain. A spokesman for Mercedes did not respond to a request for comment.
Likewise, Pepsi added 71,686 Twitter followers one day in November 2011 and has not added that number of Twitter followers in one day since. Before the bump, Pepsi followers trailed the number of people who followed Coca-Cola, which had more linear growth. After the bump, Pepsi’s followers surpassed Coca-Cola’s.
But the researchers note that a one-day gain of more than 70,000 followers because of a promotional campaign is unlikely. “The peaks are very high even through traditional advertising, and the shapes of the curves don’t really convince us,” Mr. De Micheli said, that the peaks are due to “traditional Web advertising.”
Researchers Call Out Twitter Celebrities With Suspicious Followings by NICOLE PERLROTH [via bits.blogs.nytimes.com]