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?

  1. Yes, he once followed me, too. Funny thing is, my tweets were locked and he was never given permission.

  2. Hi.

    The ‘in 2007’ link takes me to a suspended account.

    Only way I could get involved as he’s never once followed me and I’m feeling rather inadequate and unloved right now.

  3. This explains it. He followed and unfollowed me in short order the other month. Despite large numbers of my tweets referencing “Tory scum”.

  4. McWhirter Norris says:

    This was always obviously the case, who could not look at the 25,000 people he’s following and the 50,000 people who are following him and not think a) he probably hasn’t clicked follow on 25,000 people, a fair proportion of whom seem to be random foreigners b) it’s a bit odd that a no-mark minister with a fairly low profile has 50,000+ followers, a fair proportion of whom seem to be random foreigners

    Of course your idiot lobby journalists wouldn’t question it because they’re…really really thick.

    this is amusing though – http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/56330/politicshome_awards_now_on_iplayer.html

    will they ask for the award back??

  5. @Jim

    No, it probably won’t bring down the “givernemtnt”. But then again, to my knowledge, neither has any blog post on any site. I guess we should all just give up, then?

  6. If anyone wants to get shut of Shapps from following them, simply ask him one question: How do you propose to build a new house from the proceeds of the sale of a ‘right to buy’, when they will fall <£75k short of the cost of a new build?"

    Anyone who would choose to be subordinate to Eric Pickles must have a screw loose anyway

  7. This would be great if true but it’s GLARINGLY OBVIOUS to anyone with half a brain that Shapps has an “autofollowback” app enabled.

  8. codhead99,

    Indeed. Can one of his followers also ask him why he is giving away public land to private developers who already sit on huge landbanks they aren’t building on?

  9. @Steven: Errr … so why is he following people that aren’t following him then? Plenty of examples if you care to look.

    Sorry, you were saying something about “half a brain”? Please continue …

  10. 2 years ago, within minutes of joining Twitter the first message I received said ‘you are being followed by the Conservatives’. It was terrifying. Should I have called the police? As I spend a fair amount of time on my blog Red Brick denouncing Mr Shapps and all his works, I am disappointed he has not followed me. But preferably not down a dark alley. @stevehilditch

  11. Ha ha “the oldest trick in the book”?? Wasn’t twitter invented a week last Wednesday? Who cares how many followers he has or hasn’t?

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