Mirror mirror: Which political leader has the most fake followers on Twitter?

HOW do our world leaders fare when it comes to online influence? Hayden Waugh delves into the Twittersphere and investigates the accounts of Barack Obama, Najib Razak, Julia Gillard and more. 


Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

These days, it’s not just the celebrities who have fake followers on Twitter, if the figures that show up on the online application Fake Follower Check are true.

In our comparison of eight political leaders from the US, Australia, Malaysia, India, Thailand, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak topped the list for having the largest proportion of fake followers.

A recent check using Fake Follower Check showed a whopping 70 per cent of Prime Minister Najib’s 1.41 million followers were fake.

He was followed by Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at 55 per cent and 54 per cent respectively.

Comic: CW Vong

Comic: CW Vong

Just under half of US President Barack Obama’s 13.1 million followers were found to be fake, and for Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, 36 per cent of her 130,680 followers were fake.

Those who have done well include Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, with 62 per cent of his more than 25,000 following made up of engaged or “good” followers, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe whose engaged followers numbered at 58 per cent of 81,200.

These figures show that perhaps numbers tell only part of the story when it comes to determining popularity and influence.

Thomas Tudehope, social media expert from social@Ogilvy and former advisor to Australian Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull, says Twitter users can easily purchase followers starting from 100 and upwards to 10,000 followers at varying prices.

But he believes politicians or their representatives, would rarely make the decision to purchase the followers themselves.

World Leader

Total Followers

No. of Fake Followers

No. of Inactive Followers

No. of Good Followers

Barack Obama (AMERICA)

29.18 million

approx. 13.1 million


approx. 8.6 million


approx. 7.3 million


Najib Razak (MALAYSIA)

1.41 million







Manmohan Singh (INDIA)








Julia Gillard (AUSTRALIA)








Yingluck Shinawatra (THAILAND)








Shinzo Abe (JAPAN)








Lee Hsien Loong (SINGAPORE)








Nguyen Tan Dung (VIETNAM)








“Someone might have deliberately purchased followers for them… politicians have a busy schedule so I don’t think they’ve got time to keep track of fake accounts,” Mr Tudehope says.

But regardless of who has done the purchasing or how many have been purchased, the most accurate measure of influence still boils down to engagement.

“It’s all about the conversations they’re being involved in and how many responses they receive,” Mr Tudehope says.

“I think the trick is to put out more content, more often, to all kinds of different people.

“It’s a simple strategy and one that I think works quite well.”

There are 30 comments

  1. Ahmed Kamal

    This article uses numbers from a flawed tool. The ‘Fake Follower Check’ only evaluates a sample of 1000 followers from the latest 100K followers. The accuracy of the results is highly questionable for accounts with less than 100K followers. In addition to that, the criteria for deciding which account is ‘fake’ is not disclosed. Their method looks at the latest users – these include many users who have 0 followers and 0 tweets because they just started using Twitter. If 1000 new users recently follow an account after a PR event, then the % of fake followers will go up.

    1. lol

      ahmed kamal the poll expert from harvardddd :). I think you better look up, how establish survey group such as Gall up conduct they survey. Before you make a fool of urself

  2. lol

    ahmed kamal the poll expert from harvardddd :). I think you better look up, how establish survey group such has Gall up conduct they survey. Before you make a fool of urself

    1. jon perry

      million of posers claim to be harvard student and you’re just one idiot trusting them or maybe you are ahmed kamal creating another fake id. now that is just pathetic.

  3. najib bin razak

    Melbourne you just offer my beloved wife rosmah a doctorate for humanity work last year, how ironic…hahahaha

  4. Kaiao Kai

    1)Same.ip doesn’t mean it’s fake it could come from the same house or business identity.

    2) please define inactive accounts if the account isn’t deleted or preform illegal actively how is it not validate. People wouldn’t define inactive client as long as they not remove membership 1 or 2 year later they are still members

  5. Naim Jalil

    Today, the site says the fake followers of Najib Razak is downed to only 51% from 1.5M over , a reduction of around 200,000 in two weeks. Hmm… how reliable is the engine?

    1. Achmed

      Mustve been all that Racism he’s been putting out the past 2 weeks, even his fake followers decided to unfollow him

      1. Najib Razak

        Achmed, how dare you? Im not racist, I just think that Malays deserve to be spoonfed because the’re somewhat mentally challenged to stand on their own feet. I also hate the chinese because the’re successful without my help, which makes me redundant. I hate the indians too but im not sure why, but still they suck..

        As you can see, im not racist, the people have given me their mandate as Ive publically claimed. Ignore the fact that the popular vote was won by the opposition. Also ignore the fact that more people voted for the opposition that for my Party. A mandate is a mandate because I say so.

        Najib Razak

    1. Not hv twtter

      What if that follower following him bucause of to hv entertainment? U c, most of the time this one particular PM tweets are very much telling jokes i.e. on FB owner’s.

  6. didi

    students in Malaysia, especially university students who joined any kind of uniform bodies (police cadet etc.), are often (if not always) forced to follow Najib. if they do not have twitter accounts in the first place, they are told to create one.

Post Your Thoughts