Thursday, October 17, 2019

Twitter Audit of the Democratic Candidates: High % of Fake Accounts for Sanders and Bullock

I have been away for a while being swamped with teaching and working.  I finally have time to put a post together.  I though I would follow up my post on the 2020 Facebook Primary by looking at changes in the Twitter followings of the candidates and their poll averages.  

I looked at their twitter followings as of this Tuesday and the Real Clear Politics poll average also from Tuesday.  I also entered their twitter handles in to Twitteraudit to see what percentage of their followers are real.  The data is presented in the table at the bottom of the post.  


I also looked at how the candidates' followings were correlated with their October poll averages.  The variable that was most highly correlated with the poll averages was the change in the Twitter following since August accounting for 59% of the variability in the poll average.  This relationship is displayed in the chart above.  We see that Joe Biden and Andrew Yang are outliers.  Biden is because he still has high poll numbers with a lower change in Twitter following.  Yang is an outlier because he had the second highest increase in Twitter following but low poll numbers.

The Twitteraudit numbers showed that except for Biden, Sanders, and Bullock, The candidates had over 90% of their followers as real.  Biden had 89% of followers who were not bots, Sanders had 67%, and Bullock had 32%.  Back in December 2016 Twitteraudit had 92% of Sanders' followers as real.  I'm not sure what this means.  Could their Twitteraudit's algorithm have changed?  Are bots specifically targeting Sanders and Bullock?  Twitter and Facebook have made an effort to get rid of fake accounts.  The video below is 5 years old but shows how to spot fake accounts.  The spammers tricks have probably changed since then.



For comparison the man the Democrats want to replace, Donald Trump has 65,792,228 Twitter Followers, 78% of which are real.  My account (@CSIwoDB) has 1,169 followers, 99% are real according to Twitteraudit.

Candidate
Aug Poll Avg %
FB Following
Twitter following
Oct Poll Avg %
Twitter Oct
Twitter Audit % Real
chg Twitter
chg poll %
Biden
28.9
 1,487,733
 3,706,982
29.4
3,868,550
89%
161,568
0.50
Warren
16.5
 3,281,315
 3,087,005
23.4
3,358,378
93%
271,373
6.90
Sanders
17.1
  5,104,561
 9,619,000
15.6
9,800,784
67%
181,784
-1.50
Buttigieg
4.6
     441,495
 1,396,792
5.2
1,473,634
94%
  76,842
0.60
Harris
7
  1,148,762
3,090,636
5.2
3,188,418
92%
  97,782
-1.80
O'Rourke
2.4
     916,711
1,565,273
2.6
1,640,827
95%
  75,554
0.20
Yang
2.5
     178,036
   747,425
2.4
932,940
96%
185,515
-0.10
Klobuchar
0.9
     258,582
   755,517
1.6
778,167
91%
  22,650
0.70
Booker
2.4
  1,192,725
4,344,745
1.6
4,371,266
91%
  26,521
-0.80
Castro
1.1
     141,257
   379,882
1
403,141
92%
  23,259
-0.10
Gabbard
1.4
     377,434
   542,790
0.8
591,416
95%
  48,626
-0.60
Bullock
0.8
       32,231
   185,238
0.6
186,470
37%
    1,232
-0.20
Williamson
0.8
     814,883
2,759,880
0.6
2,761,336
95%
    1,456
-0.20

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