How many of your Twitter followers are fake?

A new Web service claims to know what percentage of your Twitter followers are legit and which accounts are phony or just inactive.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Twitter users who want to know how many spammy or "fake" accounts are following them can check out a new service called Fake Follower Check.

Designed by a group named StatusPeople, the service looks at your Twitter account to scan a certain number of followers. In return, it tells how many of your followers are good, inactive, or fake. In my instance, it informed me that 77 percent of the accounts were good, 19 percent inactive, and 4 percent fake.

You can also get results for other Twitter accounts. Just plug in the name of the account, and the Fake Follower Check displays its percentages.

Based on my actual number of Twitter followers, I determined that around 175 accounts are considered fake. But short of scouring through all my Twitter followers, I obviously can't confirm if that number is accurate.

OK, so how do the people behind StatusPeople arrive at their results?

The group says it looks at a sample of your followers, up to 500 accounts, depending on how popular you are. It then determines which ones may be spam accounts based on certain criteria. Accounts that have few or no followers and few or no tweets are suspect. Spammers also tend to follow a huge number of other accounts.

How accurate is the Fake Follower Check? It's difficult to know without comparing its results against those of a comparable service. And I don't know of any comparable services.

StatusPeople claims that Twitter users with 10,000 or fewer followers will get a "very accurate insight" into how many inactive and fake followers they have.

Unfortunately, the service doesn't name names, at least not at this point. You may discover the percentage of phony followers, but you can't find out which specific accounts are phony.

StatusPeople says it's working to enhance the accuracy of the service and plans to offer a spam removal tool, which presumably would help you track down and remove any accounts that you discover are fake.

 

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