About the spikes in "followers" at Mitt Romney's Twitter account. There has been some close -- almost demonic -- analysis at The Atlantic and elsewhere.)
(Algorithms discussed. Charts posted showing a big red spike to twenty-something. Random sampling mentioned. Obama's followers compared with Romney's followers. Obama found to have "slightly more followers, as the peak on the left hand side is higher for the comparison accounts and the tail slightly thicker on the right for Obama." "Non-organic" processes strongly suspected. Nodes and edges measured. Possible bot activity assessed, suspected. Okay? Are you still there? )
Regardless specific shapes of Obama and Romney's distributions, the extent of deviation from the comparison accounts that Romney's followers show, is strongly indicative of bot involvement. We found no such deviation among Barack Obama's followers.According to a Newt Gingrich staffer who spoke with Gawker during the primaries, buying followers is not unheard of in political campaigns:
Newt employs a variety of agencies whose sole purpose is to procure Twitter followers for people who are shallow/insecure/unpopular enough to pay for them. As you might guess, Newt is most decidedly one of the people to which these agencies cater.
It is not clear if Romney -- or more likely one of his staffers or a consultant -- followed Newt's lead here or if last week's spike was, as some have speculated, planted to embarrass the candidate. The Romney camp has denied buying the followers. Based on the results above, the one thing that we can be fairly sure of, however, is that someone did. ...Alexander Furnas and Devin Gaffney at The Atlantic and 104kit.com