Gingrich: Twitter followers aren't fake
August 3rd, 2011
04:03 PM ET
12 years ago

Gingrich: Twitter followers aren't fake

(CNN) - Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, whose Twitter follower count far exceeds those of any other Republican candidate, denied claims Wednesday that the campaign had inflated its numbers by buying followers through a purchasing service.

"Any accusation of the kind is a lie, a smear and unsubstantiated," R.C. Hammond, spokesperson for Gingrich, said in a statement.

The former House Speaker boasts more than 1.3 million Twitter followers, while none of the remaining GOP White House hopefuls come close to 80,000.

Accusations originated in a Gawker piece Monday that quoted an unnamed former staff member, who claimed 80 percent of Gingrich's followers are inactive or dummy accounts purchased through a "follower agency."

"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," the unnamed source told Gawker. "Pathetic, isn't it?"

The story prompted a number of organizations to conduct investigations of Gingrich followers.

A New York based search analytics company, PeekYou, said their algorithm results showed only eight percent of the candidate's followers were "humans" and claimed his real follower count was closer to 106,000. The firm excludes businesses and brand accounts as "real people."

"At first, we actually thought it might have been a bug on our side, but a quick manual look at the data showed our analysis was true," said Michael Hussey, CEO and founder of PeekYou, on the site's blog.

Gawker also cites research from Indiana University's School of Informatics and Computing, which analyzed a random sample of 5,000 Gingrich followers and found that a third had never posted to Twitter and half had no profile photo.

These numbers were larger than other high-profile political accounts analyzed in the same study. Presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty each had a follower count in which less than 10 percent had zero tweets and less than 17 percent lacked a profile photo.

And of the 9.4 million accounts that follow President Barack Obama, 10 percent had also never tweeted and 18 percent had no profile image, falling roughly in line with the other candidates measured, with the exception of Gingrich.

But the Gingrich campaign maintains that the @newtgingrich account has higher numbers because Twitter added him to its "Suggested User List." The feature recommends certain names as a way to get new Twitter users started in compiling their favorite people on the microblogging site.

Gingrich has long had a strong presence on Twitter. In the 29 months his account has been active, Gingrich has posted more than 2,700 times and was the first presidential candidate ever to announce his candidacy through a tweet.

"Twitter users follow Newt the same way they elect to follow Ashton Kutcher, Shaquille O'Neil or John McCain," said Hammond. "We will now return to our efforts to confront the President about his inability to create jobs for the American economy. Thank you."

- CNN's Jeff Simon contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich • Twitter
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Corey Schneid

    How pathetic newt! just drop out of the race. when someone has 0 followers, 0 tweets, and no profile picture that means that person is FAKE! and there's a majority of his followers like that! NOt that hard to realize it if you know twiter! STOP LYING AND DROP OUT!

    August 3, 2011 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. J. Singleton

    Gingrich's Twitter followers aren't fake....They only have fake brains

    August 3, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. bb

    And this changes Newt's snowball chance in he// in winning the Republican primary, much less a national election? Tell me another story..

    August 3, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  4. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Who cares??? Is this what passes for journalism these days???

    August 3, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The numbers good be accurate.
    People just love to watch train wrecks.

    August 3, 2011 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Wes B.


    Oppps. Got caught.

    August 3, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  7. Bill

    I like Newts comment, He,s going to confront the President about his "Inability to create jobs"???? What a BS contradiction that is!!! His Gop/TP just got done "Killing 70,000 Jobs, plus more to come??? What a BS line of "Crap" that is! Forget it Newt, You have no chance at the White House! LOL

    August 3, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Newt had to show Calista(hemet head) he's good for something other than diamonds and cruses.

    August 3, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. Valeri29

    I follow Newt on Twitter and I don't have a profile picture on my account for my own privacy. Does that make me pathetic? How can you resist the urge to subscribe to his account to see what comes out of his mouth next?

    August 3, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  10. ConservaFASCISTS/ConservaTERRORISTS

    He's still running? After the Tiffany's fiasco, he's lost all credibility.

    August 3, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |

    Nothing about the Newt is real he is a liar, rat and cheat. he has a lot of nerve running for president.

    August 3, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "Any accusation of the kind is a lie, a smear and unsubstantiated," R.C. Hammond, spokesperson for Gingrich, said in a statement.
    That vehement denial is all I needed to hear.......IT'S TRUE!!! If Gingrich denies it it is most certainly T-R-U-E!!!
    What a capitalistic palooka! lol

    August 3, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. ja

    to hell with twitter, all of the means of communication, and people are still miles apart, furthermore newt's better days are gone, go write a book

    August 3, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Yes they are. It's been proven beyond any reasonable doubt that 92% of the followers of his Twitter account are paid-for straw men and inactive fake accounts. Moreover, Newtered, Cain and Pawlenty are hocking campaign gear that wasn't made in America.

    Meanwhile, GOP basers and Teatrolls wander aruond mindlessly believing they're not being fooled into voting against their own interestss.

    August 3, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Thomas Mc

    What a sad, pathetic excuse for a man.

    August 3, 2011 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Who cares??? Is this what passes for journalism these days???"

    Actually, yes. This article actually took some research and referencing the research of others to inform the public about something....that something being exposing a fraud on the public the Newtered is trying to perpetrate in order to "fluff" the appearance of popularity and importance he wishes to have and project. It exposes the lengths to which he will go to misinform the public in an attempt to sway their votes towards him.

    August 3, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    LOL! Love his defense: "They're not fakes, they're new people who just happen to see my name right after they sign up!"

    Geez, I doubt Newty could get any lamer.

    August 3, 2011 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  18. Name joseabiliodesousa

    Give up youre a hypocrite!

    August 3, 2011 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. Embarrased Conservative

    I didn't realize he was still a candidate. Since he is my only question is WHY?

    August 3, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  20. Tea Party is Pledging to one MAN - Grover Norquist to Hold America Hostage...My Way or NO WAY!!!!

    who will follow this IDIOT on Twitter?...this guys campaign is broke and he want to fix America's financial woes?! doubt it!!!

    August 3, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  21. Bgrngod

    What a tool.

    "They aren't fake. It's just that several are owned by one person. But real people own all of them!"

    August 3, 2011 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    newter man, give it up. I always forget that you are even still around. Use that half million dollars to go on another cruise or take that helmet wife of yours to a better hair stylist.

    August 3, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  23. NVa Native

    Newt gives small slimey creatures a bad name. He's just a nasty little puss ball.

    August 3, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |