Most savvy Twitter users know that you can always spring for more followers if your dank memes just aren’t cutting it. A few hundred dollars can net you hundreds to thousands of new adherents to your live-tweeting philosophy, though they’re generally just fake accounts that will never really love you or your hilarious interactions with brands. Some folks can live with that, like comedian Joe Mande, who owns up to that fact in his Twitter bio. But Mande isn’t the only user who’s hip to this platform-building cheat; apparently, there’s a chance Donald Trump—or, at the very least, whoever manages his account—recently caught on to this way of goosing his stats.
Screenwriter John Nevin reportedly noticed a jump in the Tweeter in chief’s followers in recent days, but it was Newsweek that plugged Trump’s handle into the Twitter Audit site, whereupon the publication learned that “only 51 percent of Trump’s are real.” Of course, noting that many of Trump’s followers aren’t sentient beings is a fairly common observation these days, but this is the first time someone’s demonstrated just how many eggs-turned-silhouettes and bots are just cluttering up his followed-by list. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump had a higher ratio of flesh-and-blood followers when he had only 8 million of them watching his personal account.