Twitter: How To Spot That Bot!

Why do there have to be Twitter bots?


This post is about robot accounts, or fake accounts created for the sole purpose of following users.   Perhaps you’ve been tempted to purchase Twitter followers?  There are many reasons why people would want to buy followers but there are also many reasons NOT to purchase followers.

  • Twitter is about forming relationships with real people.  If you followed these people personally, you probably know  their interests , which tweets will appeal to them, and which ones they will retweet for you.
  • While a large number of followers are impressive, if they don’t share your content, you might as well be talking to a brick wall.
  • If your target market is geographically local to you, buying Twitter followers will not help.  You may get followers in the US, but there’s no way to purchase followers in your geographic location.  Many companies that sell Twitter followers don’t offer US only, if you purchase followers, you get what you get.

I could list more reasons why you don’t want to purchase Twitter followers, but the real reason for the post is to show you how to tell the difference between an account created and used by a living person and one that is a bot account created for the sole purpose of inflating numbers.

Now that you’ve watched the video, do you feel more or less confused?  If you interact with another Twitter account that has been “infiltrated”  by a bot account that does not mean your account is at risk.  As long as you know you are following a real person, you should be fine.  You would have to click on a link or install an application to infect your account.   I can say I have followed Twitter’s instructions for “cleaning” my account and it’s still behaving badly so there’s got to be something wonky somewhere!  Have you experienced problems with bots?  I’d like to hear your story!


13 Replies to “Twitter: How To Spot That Bot!”

  1. Do you think that if you have a higher follower account, even if they aren’t active, potential clients may look at the number and be impressed?

    1. Unfortunately that IS the case, many businesses, public figures, celebrities, etc… purchase these inactive accounts purely for the “status” of a large number. The problem with that is, a client impressed with a high number alone doesn’t usually plop down any money. You may be able to dazzle them with first impressions, but let’s say you are a restaurant with 100K followers yet you can’t fill your place on a Friday night… gee – wonder why? could it be the food? or let’s say you’re a blogger with 60K followers yet you can’t get anyone to comment or share your blog posts. What does that say about your credibility? Clients are very savvy, they look beyond the follower and fan count. Those numbers may draw them in, but once they are there, they dig to see what’s behind the numbers.

      Thanks so much for that question – it addressed something I didn’t touch on in the post! 🙂

  2. Good idea Knikkolette to show how fake Twitter profiles look like. I agree that it’s not any more just lack of profile picture but still we can try to spend few more seconds and look closer to Twitter profiles we are following.
    btw: I don’t like the shorten url in a website box there is no way to check what the website is all about.

    1. I agree Klaudia, I believe if you are going to put your url in your bio, it should be the full url so we can tell by the domain name what type of site it is or at least do a whois domain lookup.

  3. I’ve just completed a post on the subconscious process I go through when deciding who to follow. They laugh at me here when they hear me going through my list but to be honest I am very picky!!!

    I’m glad I’m not the only sane person on the planet – I was starting to wonder!

  4. You have to be picky now days… I used to tell people, if you want to target your market on Twitter, just follow the same people who are following your competitors, but with the increased use of bot accounts you can’t just follow en masse any more.

  5. Thanks so much for the clarification, Knikkolette. I usually examine my new followers and noticed the same thing you pointed out there – 0 followers and such – but didn’t know the technical term for it. Now I know how to identify and avoid them. Much appreciated.

    1. Sure thing Mellissa – so happy this post was helpful! 🙂

  6. Hi Knikkolette,

    Hate those bots! One of my clients that I manage their Twitter account had one of these bots and the tricky thing they did was somehow attached themselves to our account indicating we’re following them when I know that we don’t. We flagged and reported them as spammers and yep as you indicated on your video, our number of followers also dropped. Sneaky pesky things.

    Thanks for the post!

  7. Hi Knikkolette

    Great little vid and well explained info about the bots.

    I think I do the same as you before following – look for a good number of tweets and following and followers – I never automate.

    The zero tweets I never follow and unfortunately, I’m always suspicious of a glamorous avatar!

    Thanks for the warning

    1. Thanks for the feedback Keith. I can’t say I never automate, but I’ve had my account compromised by bot accounts and I’m STILL weeding out those pesky accounts!

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