A report on Gawker.com claims virtually all of presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's Twitter followers are fake.
On Monday Gawker ran a story that said a former Gingrich staffer said about "80% of (Ginrgich's followers) are inactive or are dummy accounts created by various 'follow agencies'" paid by his campaign.
The news got worse for Gingrich on Tuesday. A company called PeekYou, which studies these types of things, told Gawker that the number is closer to 92% fake.
Gingrich has an abnormally high number of Twitter followers -- 1.3 million. Compare that to Sarah Palin's 600,000, who is immensely more popular in general than Gingrich. However, Gawker said Gingrich was one of the first GOP politicians to be listed on Twitter's suggested user list, so that could account for his high number.
But by coincidence, YouPeek was looking into the presidential candidates.
"We just started running the 2012 candidates' numbers three weeks ago," Josh Mackey, PeekYou's general manager of business and product development, told Gawker "and when we saw your story, we went back to pull the Gingrich numbers. The huge majority of his followers are either completely anonymous people who have no other web presence, or they are spambots."
YouPeek estimates that 106,055 of Gingrich's followers are real people, just 8%.
Mackey said the average Twitter user has 35% to 60% real people following them. At 8%, Gingrich's is the lowest PeekYou has ever seen. "When we saw it, we actually had our quality assurance people go over the numbers for two days to doublecheck," he says.
As far as other GOP figures, YouPeek said Palin had 20% real followers, Mitt Romney has 26%, Michele Bachmann 28%, and Tim Pawlenty 32%.