By now, it’s no mystery that buying Twitter followers and “likes” on Facebook are a waste of time and money—you want your social media efforts and/or marketing to reach “real” people, not bots or fake followers, and having fake followers or “likes” can cause people to question your company’s integrity. There’s a disturbing new trend that’s happening on Facebook and Twitter. People can buy followers and add them to your account without your password or permission. And even though you didn’t buy the followers yourself, you can still lose your Twitter account and/or tarnish your business’ reputation.
Followers Are Getting Cheaper to Purchase
In the past, 10,000 followers could cost you upwards of one hundred dollars, but for as low as $5 on sites like http://fiverr.com/ can hook you up with the same amount of followers at a fraction of the cost. Your competition or someone who just doesn’t like you can purchase followers and have them added to your account—in legalese, this would be referred to as tortuous inference, and if you lose your account, clients over a stunt like this and/or ruin your rep, you could sue the parties responsible. Female performers also run into this problem when fans buy them followers, thinking they were doing them a favor. The problem with sites like Fiverr is that if someone does buy the followers from them, they might not always tell you who did it. You might want to contact your lawyer and have them write the site a letter telling them they are legally bound to provide you with that information, unless they want to be added to the lawsuit for interfering with your business, also.
What If This Happens to You?
Contact Twitter. This isn’t an easy process and filing a ticket is like trying to bring down the Communist front, and it may take half a dozen times of contacting them to get any action, but keep trying. It’s important to let Twitter know that your account has been compromised and what has happened isn’t your fault. Twitter can tell you at what time the followers hit your account and what site they were bought from. This will help your case in court should you seek litigation.
Next, change your password—it’s likely they didn’t have your password in the first place, but it never hurts to be safe. Make your password hard to crack with capital letters, numbers and go for a long word.
Check the applications you give permission to on your Twitter account. Get rid of any app permissions, you don’t really need.
You also might want to add an application called True Twit http://truetwit.com/. This will make anyone who follows you have to enter a captcha code to prove their real, and if they don’t they won’t be able to follow you. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but no one will be able to ever add followers to your Twitter account again. Only one follower can be added at a time, so if someone tries to buy and add 30,000 followers to your account, they won’t be able to.
Some people also decide to have their account private—in a scenario like that you will have to approve each and every follower. If you use a verification app and mark you account private, your Twitter account will be like Fort Knox.
And Getting Rid of Those Followers
If you don’t want to wait for the followers to drop off and Twitter isn’t helping you, use an application like http://tweepi.com/. For seven or eleven dollars a month, you can get their premium service and see which followers to delete based on if they’re real, have followers and the last time they used their account. This can be time consuming, but bulk unfollowing is quicker than deleting every follower on Twitter. Watch how many followers you delete in a day—if you delete more than 5,000, Twitter could suspend your account. Some people are using it for a shell game—they buy the followers, get rid of them and then add them back. More than likely you will only need the service for a month, but it’s good to do a clean up from time to time, if you want to keep the app longer than a month.