TECH

Half Of Twitter Icon Justin Bieber's Followers Are Fake

11/04/2013 14:27 BST | Updated 11/06/2013 10:12 BST

Around half of Justin Bieber's 37 million Twitter followers are fake, a study has suggested.

The 19-year old pop star is the most followed person in the world, beating rivals like Lady Gaga, President Barack Obama and the various members of One Direction.

But according to Socialbakers, a tool which analyses the quality of an account's followers, not all of those are true Beliebers.

After looking at a sample of 2,000 of Bieber's followers and rating them based on how often they have tweeted, how many people they follow and who they interact with, it found that 35% of his followers were "fake or empty".

Another 13% were described as "inactive" - leading to an overall figure of 48% who are not active, normal users.

The site admits that "If you have a large number of followers, it is expected that some will be inactive or fake", but several other big stars appear to have done better than Justin.

While the Bieb passed Lady Gaga to become the most popular account last year, she has a higher number of active users - about 19 million.

But worse than either are Jedward, whose account has a 61% margin of fake followers to real ones.

However, for any distressed Biebernauts out there, bear in mind that the site has a margin of error of about 10-15% - a pretty hefty margin.

It's also worth looking in more detail at the checklist by which an account can be counted as inactive. For instance, if an account has less than one follower and follows less than 50 people, it falls foul of the rules. Likewise if 90% of its Tweets are retweets, or still has the default Twitter egg avatar.

Unfortunately that probably quite accurately describes many accounts set up just to stalk people like Justin Bieber.