Well of course I know what it is, it's the Twitter account of International Master and financial-misconduct-suspect-about-town Silvio Danailov. I don't see it very often, having been blocked by Silvio some years back.
What I mean is, what's this?
Why has Silvio Danailov got more than fifty thousand followers on Twitter? And how?
It's not unusual for ridiculous numbers to be bandied about in chess and this strikes me as another one. Are there really fifty thousand people who want to follow Silvio Danailov? What would they be following him for?
I mean even Kirsan only has five thousand or so.
All right, that's a Russian-language account; his English-language one has never taken off, in an unusual instance of him failing to come through on his promises.
So perhaps there's a huge audience for seeing chess administrators of dubious reputation make a lot of noise on Twitter - in English if not in Russian. Or, for that matter, Turkish.
Or perhaps there isn't.
Thanks to Matt Fletcher for running Silvio's Twitter account through Twitter Audit, which seeks to distinguish as best it can between accounts that are real and accounts that are fake. As you see
it rates Silvio's following rather higher for "fake" than it does for real".
OK, but isn't everybody's account like that? Don't fake accounts pop up and follow people all the time?
Yes they do, but not, normally, to that extent. Let's look, for instance, at Susan Polgar
who has a not dissimilar number of followers, and who, as we know, is not at all shy of making exaggerated numerical claims. But her Twitter Audit looks like this
i.e. with 88% of accounts estimated-real compared to Silvio's 42%.
Alternatively, we can try Fake Follower Check which gives us the following result for Silvio
and these results for a couple of comparable accounts.
They're not the same as the results Twitter Audit gives, but they do resemble them, not least in judging that Silvio seems to have quite a high proportion of fake accounts following him, for one reason or another.
As Matt says, we can't vouch for the overall accuracy of Twitter Audit (and its creators don't claim it's entirely accurate). Do test and evaluate the results for yourself. But if they are any good, they do rather raise the eyebrows, don't they?
Why would Silvio Danailov have so many fake followers? What benefit would possibly accrue to him in having such an inflated total? What's the point?
But whatever the point, the question arises - did Silvio buy himself a bunch of fake Twitter followers?
Because that would be pitiful.
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Thanks ever so much to Dave of Twitter Audit for his help.