TRON’s Justin Sun is likely benefiting from bought Twitter followers. Analysis of different metrics around his account indicate that over half of his 1.7 million followers could be fake.
People have been using bots to game Twitter since the platform’s inception. Social proof is a key component of high engagement. Vanity metrics like follower counts, likes and retweets, and comments are important for generating engagement—even if these numbers are manufactured.
Justin Sun, the founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, appears to be well aware of this dynamic. He is constantly trying to one-up Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin on the platform and even bragged when he was the first one to hit 1 million followers in the crypto-sphere.
However, there’s a good possibility that Justin Sun’s popularity is part of a facade.
Manipulated vanity metrics?
Analysis of Justin Sun’s Twitter metrics shows some pretty suspicious activity. Over the last 30 days his followers have been increasing in a tight band regardless of activity, ranging from 4,400 to 7,400 new followers a day, averaging 5,050 daily.
All of the pictured accounts follow fewer than 100 people and have fewer than 10 followers themselves, strong indicators that they’re bots.
Meanwhile, Vitalik Buterin, one of the most influential people in the industry, gained at most 200 followers in a day over the same time span, even with 20 percent more daily tweets. On average, Buterin gained 70 new followers per day over the last 30 days.
A look at aggregate data raises further questions. Justin Sun gained 1.7 million followers with 1,700 likes and 5,200 tweets on an account created August 2017.