Politicians in the U.S. with the most fake followers on social media

Social media have become an essential part of political campaigns all over the world, including the US. Barack Obama, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden each have a combined Instagram and Twitter following of above 100 million users, which is comparable to movie stars and world-famous musicians. TradingPedia set itself the goal of examining the social media accounts of the 15 most popular political figures in the US and to determine the scale of their fake following.

Donald Trump, who recently became the first US president to face criminal charges, ranks high both in terms of fake following percentage and total number of followers. On the other hand, Barack Obama has the most fake followers, but ranks 12th when it comes to fake following percentage – 10.33%.

The politicians in our analysis were chosen based on popularity statistics provided by YouGov. Only one third (5) are Republicans, while two thirds (10) are Democrats. This somewhat correlates to a Statista survey which shows that 33% of social media users in the US are on the right of the political spectrum, while only 21% identify as politically left wing.

Prominent US Politicians and Their Percentage of Fake Followers

While absolute numbers are easier to grasp by the general audience, it is the percentage that more accurately represents the ratio between genuine and fake followers. The proportion of fake followers for the 15 most prominent political figures in the US varies greatly – from 6.80% for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to 20.18% for Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnold Schwarzenegger – 20.18% Fake Followers (28,600,000 Total Followers)

Arnold Schwarzenegger is the political figure with the most diverse background in our study. The former governor of California (2003-2022) is an actor, filmmaker, businessman and retired bodybuilder. His accounts on Instagram and Twitter have 28.6M followers, 5,770,900 of which are considered fake. A decreasing number of his publications are related to politics. One of the few examples is an Instagram post from August 31, 2022, which relates to a meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev.

Mike Pence – 15.84% Fake Followers (7,200,000 Total Followers)

Mike Pence is a politician whose fame and popularity do not match up. 96% of the respondents in a YouGov survey confirm having heard of him, while only 32% express a positive opinion. As for social media, 15.84% of his 7.2M followers are estimated to be either fake or suspicious.

Mitt Romney – 14.95% Fake Followers (2,400,000 Total Followers)

Another representative of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, comes next in our selection, with a fake following percentage of 14.95% (out of 2.4M). The Utah senator is very active on social media, especially Twitter, and often expresses radical opinions. On March 29, for example, he claimed that Bernie Sanders has never created a single job, and at the same time supported the former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in his conflict with the Democrats.

Donald Trump – 14.15% Fake Followers (110,700,000 Total Followers)

Whether the topic is total Instagram and Twitter followers, fake accounts or percentages, Donald Trump is always on the list. As for the number of fake followers particularly, he comes second, almost 1.8M behind Barack Obama. However, it should be noted that Trump’s total followers are 56.6M fewer than Obama’s.

Mike Bloomberg – 13.73% Fake Followers (3,075,000 Total Followers)

Mike Bloomberg, the Democrat who became a Republican in 2001 to run for mayor of New York and then switched back to the Democrats in 2018, ranks 5th in terms of fake following percentage. His accounts on Instagram and Twitter are followed by a little over 3 million individuals, with 13.73% of the followers considered fake.

Kamala Harris – 11.38% Fake Followers (66,800,000 Total Followers)

With 11.38% fake social media followers, Kamala Harris, the 49th Vice President of the United States, comes next in our selection. Her popularity skyrocketed after she became the first African American woman to appear on a major party’s national ticket, won the elections together with Joe Biden, and assumed office on January 20, 2021.

Barack Obama – 10.33% Fake Followers (169,100,000 Total Followers)

With 169.1M total followers, Barack Obama is undoubtedly the most popular political figure in the US. According to our study, 10.33% of his social media following is fake or suspicious, which amounts to 17,460,490 accounts. While the number appears to be large, it puts President Obama back in the rankings when it comes to the fake-genuine followers ratio.

Joe Biden – 8.87% Fake Followers (104,300,000 Total Followers)

Joe Biden is one of the three US politicians with over 100M total followers on Instagram and Twitter. Similarly to Barack Obama, the number of fake accounts is a small percentage – 8.87% or 9,251,600. Interestingly, Biden has more genuine Instagram followers (31,663,360) than Trump (18,554,300) although lagging behind in terms of overall following.


When selecting the most popular US politicians, we consulted YouGov, a trusted market research and data analytics company operating in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia-Pacific. In addition, we examined recent media publications to identify personalities who have captured the public’s attention but are not yet reflected in the overall YouGov ranking.

To make the analysis relevant, our study covers only political figures with active accounts on both Instagram and Twitter. Names marked with * have more than one official profile on each of the social media platforms, so the relevant data have been added together. As for the fake follower engagement audit, TradingPedia worked with Modash (Instagram) and Followeraudit (Twitter), online tracker tools that are in no way affiliated with the respective social network.

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