Is it safe to judge the popularity of a political party based on the number of its Twitter followers? Probably not. Following BuzzFeed’s article regarding the suspicious nature of the rapid increase in followers of the Twitter account of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, Pagella Politica has started an analysis of the Twitter followers of the main Italian political parties.
The investigation was carried out using TruthNest, a Twitter profile analysis software created by the Athens Technology Center (ATC), member of the SOMA network. Extrapolating data for a sample of 5,000 followers, the software is able to provide information about users who follow a specific account (who they are, when and how much they post, how active they are, where they post and so on), to create a report on the level of “robotization” of the profile being analyzed.
The results of analysis highlight that a vast audience of followers of all of the main Italian political parties show anomalous – therefore suspicious – behaviour (see detailed results in the full article, here in Italian). To find out whether this is an Italian peculiarity or a common phenomenon in European countries, Pagella Politica is involving other European fact-checking organizations through the TrulyMedia platform, to check if their countries’ parties are also supported by a possible “army of bots”.