Celebrities with the most fake follower bots on social media

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  • Fake follower bots on celebrity social media accounts are a growing concern..’

  • Research firm HypeAuditor estimates that nearly half of Instagram accounts are automated and created to imitate real people..

  • Rapper Lil Durk, actor Daniel Kaluuya, and NBA player Kevin Durant are some of the celebrities with the highest percentage of fake followers on social media..

  • According to AI expert Richard Batt, AI has made these bots more sophisticated in mimicking human behavior..

  • How can you spot a fake follower and what can you do about it? Read more below..

When social media first became popular, gaining followers was a gradual process that required patience, perseverance, and a whole lot of late-night tweeting. However, as social media evolved into a multi-billion dollar industry, having a large following became not just social currency but real money. Musicians, athletes, and actors have discovered that leveraging their online presence allows them to monetize their popularity through sponsored content and brand endorsements.

However, the rise of fake follower bots on celebrity social media accounts has become a growing concern in the industry. These bots can be difficult to distinguish from real followers, raising questions about the authenticity of online celebrity influence. 

To better understand this issue, we uncover the social media accounts of celebrities with the highest percentage of estimated fake followers and explore the impact they have on the entertainment industry. We also speak with UK-based AI expert Richard Batt, who offers insight into how artificial intelligence plays a key role in making these fake follower bots appear legitimate. And finally, while your usual security tools like your VPN won’t shield you from encountering bot accounts, we offer a list of ways to identify them.

What is a fake social media follower bot?

Fake follower bots are exactly what they sound like. They’re social media accounts that aren’t run by humans but by bots (short for robots). Bots are software programs that were initially designed to automate tasks that are repetitive or mundane. However, some people found ways to program them to create fake social media followers. This is primarily—but not always—done to artificially inflate someone’s social media presence in order to make an individual or business appear more popular or influential than they actually are. 

The way this works is that a bot will create a fake social media account, complete with a profile picture, bio, and other information. The bot will then follow the target user’s social media account and interact with their content in order to make it appear as though there is genuine interest in what they’re posting.

In some cases, these bots may be programmed to comment on posts or share content in order to further increase the appearance of engagement. The more followers and engagement a social media account has, the more likely it is to attract genuine organic followers and engagement.

While it’s not uncommon for social media users to have a few bots following them without realizing it, there are some people—often content creators and influencers—who go out of their way to pay for a bunch of bots to follow or engage with their accounts. This is so they can boost their apparent influence and make them more appealing to brands looking to sponsor accounts. After all, the more followers and engagement they seem to have, the more likely companies are to pay them to promote their products or services.

However, it’s important to note that not every fake follower is actually bought and paid for by the person they’re following.

The prevalence of fake followers on social media platforms

Research firm HypeAuditor has estimated that almost half (45%) of Instagram accounts are automated, and designed to imitate real people. And it’s not just Instagram—other studies found approximately 15% of Twitter accounts and 5% of Facebook accounts are also run by bots. All in all, about 30% of all followers across social media platforms are fake, according to research company SparkToro. 

In recent years, many celebrities have felt the sting of losing a significant number of followers as social media platforms have attempted to purge fake followers from their accounts. For example, back in 2014, Kim Kardashian famously lost over 1.5 million followers overnight when Instagram took action against fake accounts run by bots. Although she currently still has a whopping 354 million followers on the platform, last year, social media software company PostBeyond estimated 27% of these could still be fake.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump has also previously been plagued by fake follower accounts. Before he was initially banned from Twitter (and then subsequently re-added), it was estimated that 61% of Trump’s followers were bots.

While some social media platforms have purged bots in the past, there is scrutiny that not enough is actively being done to remove them completely. Some critics even claim that social media giants are actually pro bots as they increase engagement on their platforms. As a result, fake follower bots are at an all-time high on some celebrity social media accounts.

Uncovering fake followers on celebrity social media accounts

Using HypeAuditor, an AI-powered social media account authenticity-checking platform, we analyzed data from celebrity social media accounts to find out who has the most fake followers on Instagram and TikTok.

From our research, American rappers Lil Durk and Future top the list of the celebrities with the most fake followers across their TikTok and Instagram accounts, clocking in at 56% and 50% respectively. Other musicians include Kendrick Lamar, with 45% fake followers across his accounts, Drake with 41%, and Adele with 29%.

Online monitoring UK - Musicians

We also discovered that Black Panther star Daniel Kaluuya is the actor with the most fake followers across his social media profiles (43%). This is followed by Dune actor Timothée Chalamet (39%) and The Menu’s leading star, Anya Taylor-Joy (31%).

Online monitoring UK - Actors

Athletes also aren’t exempt from having fake followers on their social media accounts. American professional basketball player Kevin Durant takes the lead with 46% of his followers on TikTok and Instagram being fake. Fellow basketball players Russell Westbrook and James Harden follow closely behind, with both athletes clocking in 42% fake followers on their respective accounts.

Online monitoring UK - Athletes

While it’s alarming to see the high percentage of fake followers on some prominent celebrity profiles, it’s important to keep in mind that having fake followers doesn’t necessarily mean that the celebrity purchased them. Nevertheless, the presence of fake followers could harm the celebrity’s reputation and credibility—and the industry as a whole.

How are fake follower bots harmful?

Fake follower bots on social media can cause a range of problems, from damaging commercial value and trust to influencing political opinion. Celebrities are particularly vulnerable to these issues, as their social followings are a key part of their personal brand and commercial value.

Decreased commercial value

A significant problem with fake followers and bots on a celebrity’s account is that they can artificially inflate the numbers associated with a social media account, creating an inaccurate representation of the account’s true influence. Brands and companies that rely on celebrity  marketing to promote their products and services can end up paying large sums of money for advertisements that are shown to bots or inauthentic accounts, rather than real customers. In 2019, cybersecurity firm Cheq estimated that around 15% of the costs spent on influencer marketing is lost to fraudulent social engagements, costing marketers approximately 1.3 billion USD annually.

In addition to costing brands money, fake followers and bots can also harm the commercial value of celebrities themselves. If companies or potential partners discover that a large portion of an account’s followers are fake, they may lose trust in the star and be less willing to work with them in the future. This can result in lost income and missed opportunities for partnerships.

Influencing public opinion

Fake followers and bots can also have a harmful impact on political discourse. During political events such as the last U.S. presidential election and the UK’s Brexit referendum, bots on social media were found to be spreading misinformation and influencing public opinion. This can undermine the credibility of political discussions and create an unstable foundation for debates, as people struggle to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Fake followers and the use of bots can have significant repercussions for celebrities, as they wield the power to manipulate public opinion. These automated accounts are often deployed to promote or endorse political campaigns or causes, regardless of the celebrity’s actual stance. 

For example, bots can leave comments on a celebrity’s post expressing support or disdain for a specific political position, often using pre-programmed messages or slogans. These comments usually appear genuine as they mimic human-like responses. The presence of a large number of supportive or critical comments on a social media post can potentially sway the perception of a celebrity’s political stance, potentially leading followers to associate the opinions expressed by the bots with the celebrity themselves.

By artificially amplifying certain viewpoints or ideologies, these bots create an illusion of widespread support that can mislead both the celebrity’s genuine followers and the general public. Additionally, the use of bots to spread misinformation or negative content about a celebrity can damage their reputation and erode public trust.

Decline in user experience

It’s not just celebrities and marketers who are affected by bots. Bots engaging in posts is also simply an irritation for millions and millions of genuine users who want to comment on a post or start a meaningful conversation. Seeing a post you’re interested in flooded with bot comments that are irrelevant or scammy will likely turn you off from commenting and at least put a damper on your experience. Even worse, some people will fall for scams being promoted by bots.

AI’s role in fake social media followers

Technological advancements in AI have exacerbated the problem of bots on social media by making them seem more human. AI expert Richard Batt explains, “Advancements in natural language processing, computer vision, and machine learning have made these bots more sophisticated in mimicking human behavior. They are now capable of not only liking and sharing posts but also commenting and following other accounts, making them harder to distinguish from genuine users.” 

Bots are designed to operate on their own—and it’s getting easier to program them. “One of the ways people can automate the actions of these bots is by using the Twitter API, which enables the automation of liking and sharing posts,” Batt says. “Additionally, they can send posts to the ChatGPT API to generate natural-sounding replies to comments, further enhancing the illusion of genuine human interaction.” 

Batt says that in order to tackle this growing concern, it’s important to rely on tools and techniques that can successfully identify and fight against these advanced fake AI follower bots. “Furthermore, it’s crucial to educate the public about identifying and reporting such accounts, fostering a more transparent and authentic social media environment,” he says.

5 types of fake follower bots and how to spot them

So, on that note, how can you spot a fake follower bot account on social media? Here are a few  telltale signs that a user may not be a real human:

1. Third-party booster bots

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These are accounts affiliated with third-party boosters trying to rapidly inflate their follower count. They may like a random assortment of photos or leave generic comments in rapid succession, such as “great post” or “beautiful.” They may also follow thousands of people but have little to no followers themselves or appear to have been inactive for a long time.

2. Stolen content bots

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These bots post stolen photos of different people or promise low prices on luxury items, in an attempt to get you to click on a suspicious link.

3. Blank accounts

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Blank accounts have no picture, no posts, no followers, and their username is usually filled with numbers or is unrelated to their screen names. Their accounts are also usually set to private.

4. Typical bot accounts

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These accounts usually have a generic profile picture, and they may post spam or unoriginal content. They also use hashtags that are not necessarily related to the context of the post and may have content that is aggressive or misleading. Additionally, they may have suspiciously high following-to-follower counts.

5. AI-generated accounts

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According to Batt, these accounts may have AI-generated profile images, created using Midjourney or Stable Diffusion. They may also have strange posting patterns, such as only retweeting, posting irregularly, or having massive gaps in posting history with a significant shift in content. Additionally, they may have posts generated by AI language models like AutoGPT, which may include phrases like “As an AI language model,” or be run by actual humans. They also have a suspiciously high follower count. 

A recent example of an AI-generated fake user is the now-notorious case of “Claudia” whose creators allegedly sold artificially generated nude photos of her on Reddit before they were caught out.

What to do if you suspect a social media follower is fake

Fake followers are bad for everyone. Not only do they skew metrics and misrepresent influence, but they also undermine the authenticity and credibility of social media platforms as a whole. If you suspect someone has fake followers, it’s important to take action to keep social media platforms genuine and trustworthy.

Use third-party tools to confirm a follower is fake

There are several third-party tools available, such as FakeCheck.co, that can help you determine whether a user is fake or someone has fake followers.

Report suspicious activity

Most social media platforms have reporting systems in place for fake accounts and suspicious activity. Once you’ve determined that a profile is fake or is engaging in other fraudulent behavior, report them to the social media platform. If you happen to be following the account, unfollow them immediately. You can even block the fake account to restrict its access to your information.


To determine the percentage of fake followers for each celebrity, we used data from HypeAuditor, a social media analytics tool. For Instagram, we looked at the total number of followers and the number of followers identified as a “Quality Audience” by HypeAuditor. We then calculated the percentage of fake followers by subtracting the number of “Quality Audience” from the total number of followers and ranking the celebrities based on this percentage.

For TikTok, we used HypeAuditor’s “Audience Authenticity” metric to determine the percentage of fake followers. We ranked the celebrities based on their audience authenticity score, with the celebrity having the least authentic audience ranked number one.

I like hashtags because they look like waffles, my puns intended, and watching videos of unusual animal friendships. Not necessarily in that order.