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A New Way to ‘Paper the House?’

Romney Accused of Fake Twitter Followers
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

It had to happen. Someone is accusing a political campaign of puffing up their Twitter numbers. The Associated Press carried the story, and it reminded me of a sporting event where the announced crowd is a lot larger than the number of people in the seats.

Or an event where most of the people got free tickets, when the organizers “papered the house.”

Now, I don’t know if the accusations are accurate, and I don’t really care. It just had to happen where someone says the other side doesn’t have as many social media followers as it claims.

I’ll let the AP tell it:

By MICHELLE R. SMITH
Associated Press
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – There’s a virtual dust-up over how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney amassed more than 100,000 new Twitter followers in just a few days.

It may seem trivial, but not to social networking junkies or campaigns mindful of the need to project an image of digital popularity and power.

An analysis by the technology firm Barracuda Labs found most Twitter users who followed Romney one July weekend were probably fake, although it’s impossible to know who’s behind the spike. Romney went from 673,000 to 814,000 followers in that time. That number has since risen to more than 861,000. President Barack Obama has 18 million followers.

The Romney campaign’s digital director, Zac Moffatt, says the campaign did not purchase the followers. He says the number isn’t even something they care about.

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