With oleaginous Tory Mark Clarke exposed by Liberal Conspiracy for accumulating as many as 50,000 fake Twitter followers, it appears that minister Grant Shapps may be trying to pull the oldest trick in the book: repeatedly following and unfollowing other users in a lame attempt to boost their own numbers.
The housing minister certainly has some unusual people in the 30,000 he has “chosen” to follow, including Spanish speakers, dormant accounts and someone called, erm, “Butthole Synonymous”. Even in the time we were writing this blog post, Shapps found time in his busy schedule to follow even more.
Numerous people have claimed that Shapps’ behaviour is consistent with someone attempting to inflate their followers, including someone who claims that he has “followed me three times now … He soon unfollows me though.” They’re not alone:
It would seem that Eric Pickles’ sidekick has form for this kind of online chicanery — in 2007 he was caught posing as a Liberal Democrat activist on YouTube.
So is Shapps using an auto-follow bot or is he spending the working day on Twitter?