Twitter’s Big Problem: Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

Twitter’s Big Problem: Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

It’s been said that as much as 50% of social media is generated by auto-bots and internet cafe workers in Bangladesh who have no actual interest in your products of services. This problem is most easily seen on Twitter, where the cost for entry is free, the accounts are quick to create, and there is money to be made in selling Twitter followers to the gullible.

Let’s look at Twitter’s big spam problem.

Clowns on Twitter – Clone accounts follow a few familiar patterns that are easy to spot.


  1. They often show up in twos and threes. (I assume this is because the workerbee is building several spam accounts at a time.)
  2. Many will not have a header image.
  3. They often have pictures of cute young women.
  4. User names often have a lot of random numbers or letters.
  5. And if they have header images they are often generic.
  6. The bios are starting to get more creative with ideas like “book lover” “travel” or “alcohol geek”

I’m assuming this is because of the audience the potential “buyer” might be interested in: millennials in search of products, travel, and fun. Um, yeah, not going to happen.

Jokers on Twitter – the gurus and salesmen on Twitter

Here’s the biggest spam/ro-bot on Twitter. The 100kfollowers spammers.

Their profiles always sport the OFFER banner which makes them quick to spot and REPORT/BLOCK.


And when you click on the link (don’t) here’s what the page looks like.


And there’s your problem right there. These guys claim they can blow up your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube accounts with loads of followers. And that’s what all those Clowns are doing, creating the fake accounts by the millions that they then use to “follow” you. But guess what? They do not provide a single click of value. You could buy 1,000,000 bot followers and not generate a single click of value. Bots don’t RT. Bots don’t influence. Bots that you buy, make it look like you know what you’re doing, they may even make it look like your work for a client is very successful, but the activity does not equal value.


If we can buy social media accounts from thousands of clones in India what kind of conversation are we thne going to have with them? And here’s the worse part. This flood of fake accounts are actually squeezing out the new users and frustrated old-timers who are just fed up. Today there is very little information that is exchanged on Twitter in terms of social interactions. People use Twitter for three things:

  1. Research
  2. Promotion
  3. Share thoughts as they are watching TV

Initially when Twitter launched at SXSW in Austin, it was intended to keep your pack of friends informed about each other’s plans and updates. Today I have only a handful of “friends” on Twitter. I use Twitter all the time, and I’m constantly seeking out real people, but it’s getting harder and harder.

Name the last time you had an interaction on Twitter with a “live” person. It happened for me yesterday. But it had been a while. That’s because most Tweeters are using scheduling software and bots to tweet their promotions. I think there’s a problem with this. And I don’t mind telling you about it. (Twitter Leaders: Stop Spamming)

If Twitter were to do something revolutionary to clean up the Tweeting spammers, they’ve have to eliminate 40 – 50% of their accounts. And the HUGE growth they are betting on is primarily made up of the spammers and scammers. Do you hear many of your friends who are not in social media marketing talking about Twitter? I didn’t think so.

Twitter’s got more problems than just spammers, but it’s the spammers that are choking the functionality out of Twitter, and keeping the “valuable” millennials from joining up. And if they do, they usually abandon the account within the first 30 days. Not a lot of good news for Twitter.

You can help a little by Reporting and Blocking the spammers when you see them. Twitter uses “alerts” from users to disable the worst offenders.


But let me ask a simple question. Wouldn’t it be easy for Twitter to just kill the 100kfollowers accounts overall? Or suppress all the accounts that show up with the tell-tale banner? But I’ve seen 100kfollowers accounts showing up in my “suggested accounts” from Twitter. So, somehow the synergy is working for Twitter to keep them alive. It’s probably the high growth numbers they are providing Twitter Co. statisticians. It’s a sad state of affairs, but we’ve got to keep trying to make it a better Twittersphere. Or give up and go to Snap Chat.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

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  1. Thanks for an insightful piece of writing. Really apprecciate it.
    I have meaningful conversations every day so the issue doesn’t have a great impact on my ‘twitter life’. I’m very picky with who I’m following.
    But I see trolls and bots as really threatening for the professional networking and conversation that I really are dependent on in my own professional development. And I think that we have to protect what we as real users and contributors cherrish.
    I do regularly block porn profiles and follower sellers and maybe that’s the only thing we can do. It would be helpful if Twitter didn’t focus so much on how to increase revenu and had it’s focus on what is of real value on Twitter compared with other social media sites.

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