- Amtrak employee asked an NAACP lawyer to move from her train seat Sunday 7:54 PM
- Billie Eilish fans riot after being referred to as ‘Avocados’ Sunday 4:37 PM
- Beyhive coming for Sainsbury’s supermarket over Ivy Park shade Sunday 3:17 PM
- Antique store blasted for selling ‘white only’ signs Sunday 1:45 PM
- DaBaby explains altercation with hotel employee after video goes viral Sunday 12:32 PM
- Kanye faces backlash for headlining Christian event with anti-LGBTQ leaders Sunday 10:31 AM
- Why is Yennefer of Vengerberg so different in Netflix’s ‘The Witcher’? Sunday 10:00 AM
- Actress slammed for ‘acid attack-face’ TikTok challenge Sunday 9:46 AM
- ‘Weathering With You’ blends fantasy and realism in a magical love story Saturday 6:18 PM
- Kidnapped teen used Snapchat to get rescued Saturday 4:35 PM
- What fans do and don’t want to see in future ‘Far Cry’ installments Saturday 4:26 PM
- Aaron Carter accused of stealing lion art for merch Saturday 3:10 PM
- Instagram’s hidden like counts were inspired by a ‘Black Mirror’ episode Saturday 2:06 PM
- Student says they were expelled for tricking teacher into making inappropriate TikTok Saturday 12:26 PM
- Space Force uniforms relentlessly mocked, memed Saturday 10:52 AM
PeerIndex CEO caught buying thousands of Twitter followers
The head of a company that ranks online influence admits he artificially inflated his own Twitter follower count.
There’s nothing legally wrong with paying to juice your Twitter follower numbers, but when your company measures one’s influence on the site, the morality gets a little murkier.
Azeem Azhar, CEO of social reputation measurement company PeerIndex, has admitted buying thousands of Twitter followers. However, he claims it was an experiment which has no bearing on his reputation ranking within his company’s service.
Azhar’s follower numbers jumped by almost 20,000 in a single day in March, according to TwitterCounter records. That jump was spotted by The Kernel, which noted a follower of Azhar claiming that he’d had 14 retweets and 13 mentions in the space of a week, which seems incredibly low for someone who has 21,787 followers.
Following the initial report, Azhar told The Kernel he bought followers from online marketplace Fiverr. He said he did so to “demonstrate it could be done and to see and demonstrate how it wouldn’t affect core PeerIndex rankings.”
For what it’s worth, Azhar has a PeerIndex influence score of 60 (100 is the maximum). That’s less than, for instance, tech journalist Jack Schofield (score of 65 with 20,221 Twitter followers) and Asteris Masouras, a photojournalist with a score of 64 and 9,570 Twitter followers.
Azhar’s claim that follower numbers don’t affect PeerIndex rankings seems to hold up on that evidence, yet the moral implications of artificially pumping up one’s Twitter followers are a different matter.
“More argument to the fact that so-called ‘online influence’ can be gamed. Not least, it seems, by those who preach its authenticity and value,” wrote Steve Ward, owner of a social media consulting firm, in a comment on The Kernel’s report.
“Azeem likes point-scoring, so it’s a 5/100 from me.”
Photo via YouTube
Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.