According to a report by Media Chain entitled Navigating the Next Generation Fan: How Football is Social (2019) over a third (36%) of internet users are Premier League fans.
Twitter is one of the biggest social media platforms, and is used by many football fans as it allows for fans to keep up with games in real time.
However, research has found that the rise of fake news, spam, bots and propaganda has seen Twitter’s dominance in the world of football decline. Ticketgum.com conducted an experiment using SparkToro’s Fak Followers Audit software in order to see which Premier League Twitter accounts have the most fake followers.
Ticketgum.com discovered an average 41.4% of accounts that follow Liverpool F.C. are fake– the highest total of all Premier League teams analysed, with Manchester United F.C.coming in second at 40% and Manchester City F.C.third with 35.6%.
Other Premier League teams with a high infiltration of fake followers include Chelsea F.C.(35.1%), Arsenal F.C.(35.1%.), Tottenham Hotspur F.C. (34.6%), and Watford F.C. (32.6%).
However, Sheffield United F.C. were found to have the leastfake followers– around one in five at 20.9%.
Others with low averages of inauthentic accounts, include Everton F.C.(23.4%), Leicester City F.C.(23.5%) and Aston Villa F.C.with (23.6%).
However, It isn’t just fake followers that fans need to be aware of. According to COPA90’s The Modern Football Fan 2.0(2019)report Twitter users are seing first hand how rapidly, and often, online conversation devolves into abuse:
The report said that fans have reported witnessing:
- Aggressive/threatening behaviour (53%)
- Racism (42%)
- Homophobia (28%)
- Sexism (26%)
- Xenophobia (25%)
A spokesperson for Ticketgum.com said: “On social media, think smart – and be proactive. If you are concerned, check your settings and privacy section. For example, on Twitter, you can mute people who don’t have a default profile photo or who haven’t confirmed their email / phone number. This won’t hide all inauthentic accounts, but it will help slim the chance of seeing suspect activity. You can also report – and block – users who facilitate abuse.”