Social media reach has become a very real tool for public figures, from Lady Gaga to President Obama to Kim Kardashian. In fact, Mother Monster found it so important that she founded her own social network for Little Monsters. But the actual value of public Twitter followers has been turned on its head by a British company called Status Poeple who aim to reveal how real or fake anyone’s Twitter following is.

Their metrics are simple, executive Rob Waller tells the Guardian. His tool currently reviews an account’s 100,000 most recent followers and identifies them as fake, inactive or good.

Waller says, “A fake account is set up to follow people or send out spam. They normally have no followers, but follow large numbers of people. An inactive account is one in which there has been no activity for a while. They could be real people, but we would describe them as consumers of information rather than sharers of information. A good account is everything that remains.”

A quick check shows that of the 10 most followed accounts on Twitter, including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Barack Obama and YouTube no account has 50% of followers who are classified as “good.” Breaking 30% is rare.

As Status People perfect their client to analyze an account’s entire Twitter following, the world will know what their real reach with engaged users on the platform is.

Lady Gaga’s 28 million followers don’t equate to as great and influential a reach if less than 30% of them actually exist or are engaged.

-Courtney E. Smith, CBS Local


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