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Why Do the New York Jets Have So Many Fake Twitter Followers?

The New York Jets are the NFL’s King of Twitter. However, as a reader pointed out, the Jets have an unusually high number of fake followers. So I took way more time than I’m willing to admit looking at team Twitter and Facebook pages to try and make the Jets look like Twitter frauds.

Before the start of the 2011 NFL season, Sports Business Daily took a look at the social media presence of every NFL team. The Cowboys were #1 on Facebook and the Jets were #1 on Twitter with 188,731 followers as of September 7, 2011. (In 2009, the Jets were in the middle of the pack with 15k. In 2010, they were in 4th with 36k)

According to TwitterCounter.com, on June 12, 2012 the @NYJets had 389,613 Twitter followers. Today (December 13, 2012) @NYJets has 513,944 followers. That is roughly a 25% increase in the last 6 months. (The Giants went from 300K to around 400K over the same period.)  The Jets have a vociferous fan base and it is possible that 100,000 of them have learned how to use a computer in the last six months. However, if we look at what percentage of their followers are fake, they don’t line up with other NFL teams. From StatusPeople.com:

Compare that to the Giants who share a stadium with the Jets.

That’s a quite a difference, again considering that they share the same major metropolitan area. Looking past the Tri-State area, the Dallas Cowboys (@DallasCowboys, 477K followers) have 16% fake followers, the New England Patriots (@Patriots, nearly 500K followers) have 13% fakes, the Cleveland Browns (@OfficialBrowns, nearly 129K followers) have 19% fakes, the Miami Dolphins (@Miami Dolphins, 128k followers) have 14% fakes, the Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears, 245k followers) have 22% fakes, the Green Bay Packers (@Packers, 385k followers) have 23% fakes.

Social Bakers’ Fake Followers Check has the Jets at 37% fake, Giants at 17%, Patriots at 22%, Cowboys at 20%, Dolphins at 17%, Browns at 13%, Bears at 22%, Packers at 20%. The Jets are still well ahead of all those teams when it comes to fakes. So let’s take a look at a sampling of the Jets newer followers. Scrolling down just a little bit I found this admittedly small sample size.

Only 3 out of the 9 followers have pictures. Two of those three have never tweeted. The  one that has tweeted – @CPhillpotts – looks awful spammy. Scrolling through any account with a lot of followers will turn up plenty of spam, but in my scientific opinion, there are a lot more eggs following the Jets than any of the other NFL Twitter accounts I looked at. So the Jets followers don’t pass the statistical breakdown and they fail the egg test.

If you look back at the Fake Twitter Follower posts from the summer, therein lie the most interesting numbers. Since the Jets have more followers, you would expect them to have more spam/fake followers. Trey Wingo had about half a million Twitter followers and 32% were fake. If you look at all the rest of the media members – from Grant Wahl (23K / 29% fake) up to Bill Simmons (1.795 million / 26% fake) – the highest percentage of fakes is 32%. The only person from either of those posts to approach Jets numbers was an athlete –  Cristiano Ronadlo with 43% of his 12.6 million followers being fake. Of LeBron’s nearly six million followers, only 24% were fake.

The only explanation I can come up with – besides “the people who run the Jets Twitter account buy followers to inflate their numbers” – is that “Tim Tebow” is one of those terms that attracts spambots. The control for that group? Skip Bayless’ Twitter account. Only 10% of his 919,000 followers are fakes. So Tim Tebow isn’t the culprit.

Now ask yourself, would the New York Jets really do something as silly as buy Twitter followers to inflate their numbers so they could be considered one of the NFL’s leaders in social media presence? Chicago Now took a look at the numbers, which show the Jets as a very active social media presence, however there is a huge gap between their Facebook and Twitter.

Why are the Cowboys (and many other teams) kicking the Jets asses so handily in the number of likes on Facebook? The Cowboys – America’s team – are the top team on Facebook with 5.1 million likes. The Jets have just 1.5 million likes. So either the Jets have a very Twitter-savvy fanbase who don’t bother with Facebook or their juking the stats.

Previously: Which Pro Athletes Have the Most Fake Twitter Followers?
Previously: Which Sports Media Members Have the Most Fake Twitter Followers?

 

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