Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Newt Gingrich continues to crumble: Twitter edition

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Newt Gingrich
Newt Gingrich

It seems that trainwreck-of-a-politician Newt Gingrich (R) is guilty of massive Twitter fraud:

Gingrich complained yesterday that the press is ignoring his prodigious Twitter audience: "I have six times as many Twitter followers as all the other candidates combined, but it didn't count because if it counted I'd still be a candidate; since I can't be a candidate that can't count." Which is true! Gingrich currently boasts 1,325,842 followers, whereas competitors Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann have yet to crack 100,000.

But if Newt is winning the Twitter primary, it's because of voter fraud. A former staffer tells us that his campaign hired a firm to boost his follower count, in part by creating fake accounts en masse:

Newt employs a variety of agencies whose sole purpose is to procure Twitter followers for people who are shallow/insecure/unpopular enough to pay for them. As you might guess, Newt is most decidedly one of the people to which these agencies cater.

About 80 percent of those accounts are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various "follow agencies," another 10 percent are real people who are part of a network of folks who follow others back and are paying for followers themselves (Newt's profile just happens to be a part of these networks because he uses them, although he doesn't follow back), and the remaining 10 percent may, in fact, be real, sentient people who happen to like Newt Gingrich. If you simply scroll through his list of followers you'll see that most of them have odd usernames and no profile photos, which has to do with the fact that they were mass generated. Pathetic, isn't it?

In a realm where image is more important than your own mother, what does it say about a politician’s credibility when they can’t even attain popularity on Twitter without resorting to transparently dishonest tactics?

Gingrich: A presidential candidate without a team, with even less of a team, and without a valid following. When can we expect his inevitable (yet ostensibly humbling) statement of defeat already?

(One question, though: Why are some reports claiming that Gingrich’s Twitter account has lost 20,000 followers in one week based on Twitter Counter stats that show he’s only lost 300–400? Or is my math really that bad?)

(via Pharyngula)