Helen Zille to give 600,000 fake followers the chop on Twitter

02 January 2020 - 14:39 By Nonkululeko Njilo
Nearly half of Helen Zille's followers on Twitter were revealed in an audit to be fake bots. She says these bots are used to manufacture outrage against her. File photo.
Nearly half of Helen Zille's followers on Twitter were revealed in an audit to be fake bots. She says these bots are used to manufacture outrage against her. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Sunday Times/Esa Alexander

DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille seems determined to get rid of fake followers after discovering she has about 600,000 of them on Twitter.

She was speaking in a series of tweets on Wednesday after a commentator shared an audit of her followers which indicated that nearly 50% of her 1.4m followers were fake bots.

“I have just seen a Twitter audit which says that almost 50% of my 1.4-mill followers are fake (bots). Their handlers must spend a huge amount of time looking for anything to twist and spin to manufacture outrage and get me trending,” she tweeted.

“Can anyone tell me how I get to block or delete the 600,000-plus fake bot accounts following me? And is it possible to find out who created them?” she asked.

Several people offered suggestions.

Some agreed with her sentiments about there being an orchestrated campaign against her online but others did not.

Paul Kaufmann wrote, “I've mulled over this tweet for a long time now. In the past I would get so angry at the unfair attacks on you and will always be appalled by them. But now I realise it's an orchestrated, well planed cyber thing. But still, I feel for you and will ALWAYS support you. We love you ...” [sic]

In one of her tweets, Zille said she said she believed many of the anonymous fake accounts were run by her political opponents.  

“I'm flattered. They must think I am very influential to put this much effort into trying to destroy me online. They won't succeed,” she tweeted.

But not everybody agreed.

Zille then suggested that she was going to flush out the fake bots.


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