If you are on Twitter then you’ve probably seen this magical act happen before. Where someone whose account has 150 followers suddenly turns up with 1000 the next day, and you know they didn’t spend all night following people and asking for follow backs.

This doesn’t raise dust when it concerns mere mortals like us. But in July 2012, Presidential aspirant Mitt Romney experienced a scandal of ‘Twitter’ proportions. His account was suddenly blessed with 116,000 new followers, in a single day. Prior to that, Romney’s follower count was only growing at a rate of 3-4,000 a day.

Buying Twitter followers may not be wrong, but to what end? Dara Kerr of CNET suggests that Mitt Romney did that as a way of trying to match Obama’s social media popularity, at the time.

How then are these fake Twitter accounts generated?

There are many software programs available with which fake followers can be generated. These software programs, through proxy IP addresses, send data to Twitter. Then names and usernames are generated without the user going through Twitter at all. Some of the names and usernames are generated by picking information and pictures from random account profiles. Then these profiles are replicated, including some random misspellings.

Jim Dougherty of Leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal explains how the fake accounts are subsequently managed: “After the account is created, there are other software solutions that will help to manage followers and messages all from this third party interface. Software like this fuels the market for both Twitter followers and retweets on YouTube, eBay, Fiverr and other websites.” That means the business of buying followers is really big and the software is in high demand across the web.

You can watch the video below to learn more about the process of generating fake followers.

Photo Credit: Denis Vahrushev via Compfight cc

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