How many fake followers do Instagram's top celebrities and brands have

TechRobot conducted a social media audit to determine how many fake followers some of the best-known people on earth have on Instagram. You can view the full study here.

  • With 28.6% bots, Paris Hilton is the Instagrammer with the most fake followers, research shows 
  • Nike has 46.35 million alleged fake followers
  • Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have an alleged total of 134.14 million fake Instagram followers
  • Ariana Grande has 66.17 million alleged fake followers 
  • Joe Biden has most trustworthy profile whilst Donald Trump has 18% fake followers  

Have you ever wondered just how many of your favourite celebrities, brands, sports stars, and politicians’ followers are real or fake? TechRobot has conducted a study using the social media auditing tool Modash which estimates the amount of fake and real followers some of the most well-known celebrities and brands have, from Donald Trump to Nike to Dwayne Johnson.

With Instagram being a key social media platform for brand awareness, it’s a great place for a company, celebrity, or influencer to grow a following by posting content that’s interesting and engaging. However, since the release of various apps that allow you to check the authenticity of an Instagram user’s followers, this has raised an issue of the platform’s fake follower problem. Bots can easily manipulate an influencers’ follower figures—even without them knowing it.

With these apps being free and easily accessible, it’s easier and quicker than ever to analyse data from people’s Instagram accounts. The influencer industry is now worth upwards of $8 billion per year which means a lot of money could be at risk if Instagram follower figures are inaccurate.

To get a better understanding of how many of the most popular Instagrammers have genuine followers and how many have been unknowingly manipulated by fake followers or bots, TechRobot audited the top 10 accounts in the worlds of sport, music, film, politics, retail, and television. Using a tool that analyses engagement rate and profile content to estimate which followers might be fake, here is what they have found:

Paris Hilton is the Instagram Account with the most fake followers as bots inflate her follower count by 28.6%

Name

Followers (M)

Fake Followers (%)

Real Followers (%)

Real Followers (M)

Number of Fake Followers (M)

Paris Hilton

15.5

28.6

71.4

11.1

4.4

Victoria's Secret

69.9

28.5

71.5

50.6

19.3

Kourtney Kardashian

139.5

27.9

72.1

100.6

38.9

Katy Perry

131.9

27.8

72.2

95.3

36.6

Nike

168.3

27.5

72.5

122.0

46.4

Kris Jenner

42.3

27.5

72.5

30.7

11.6

Gigi Hadid

68.7

27.3

72.7

50.0

18.7

Miley Cyrus

142.1

27.2

72.8

103.5

38.6

Versace

24.3

27.1

72.9

17.7

6.6

Nicki Minaj

153.2

27.0

73.0

111.8

41.4

Khloé Kardashian

178.4

26.8

73.2

130.6

47.8

Demi Lovato

113.1

26.8

73.2

82.8

30.3

Taylor Swift

173.9

26.7

73.3

127.5

46.4

Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum

5.8

26.3

73.7

4.3

1.5

Queen Rania Of Jordan

6.4

26.2

73.8

4.7

1.7

Calvin Klein

21.4

26.2

73.8

15.8

5.6

Jennifer Lopez

171.3

26.1

73.9

126.5

44.8

Kim Kardashian

245.8

26.1

73.9

181.7

64.1

Kylie Jenner

260.7

25.8

74.2

193.5

67.2

Justin Bieber

190

25.7

74.3

141.1

48.9

Paris Hilton is the celebrity with allegedly the highest number of fake followers on Instagram. She has 15.5m followers, but 28.6% of these are estimated to be bots. Although the model, businesswoman and media personality may not be aware of this, it means that almost 4.5m of her followers could be bots.

In close second is the iconic brand Victoria’s Secret with 28.5% of their 69.9m followers alleged to be fake, followed by Kourtney Kardashian with 27.9%.

Brands: Nike has 46.35 million alleged fake followers out of its 168.3 million Instagram followers

Name

Followers (M)

Fake Followers (%)

Real Followers (%)

Real Followers (M)

Number of Fake Followers (M)

Victoria's Secret

69.9

28.5

71.5

50.6

19.3

Nike

168.3

27.5

72.5

122.0

46.4

Versace

24.3

27.1

72.9

17.7

6.6

Calvin Klein

21.4

26.2

73.8

15.8

5.6

Prada

27.1

25.4

74.6

20.2

6.9

Kylie Cosmetics

25.2

24.9

75.1

18.9

6.3

Chanel

45.8

24.7

75.4

34.5

11.3

Anastasia Beverly Hills

19.7

23.4

76.6

15.1

4.6

Lamborghini

30.3

23.1

76.9

23.3

7.0

Starbucks

17.9

22.2

77.8

13.9

4.0

As one of the world’s largest brands, you might be surprised to find that Nike apparently has the highest volume of fake followers out of the brands TechRobot analysed, with 27.54 per cent of their following allegedly not being real.

However, Victoria’s Secret had the highest percentage of fake followers according to the study with 28.5% of their following alleged to be bots or other fake accounts.

Sportspeople: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have an alleged total of 134.14 million fake Instagram followers combined due to bots

Name

Followers (M)

Fake Followers (%)

Real Followers (%)

Real Followers (M)

Number of Fake Followers (M)

Cristiano Ronaldo

329.1

23.5

76.5

251.8

77.3

Neymar Jr.

5.9

23.3

76.8

1.4

4.5

LeBron James

1.1

22.8

77.2

0.8

0.3

Marcelo Vieira Jr

48.3

22.7

77.3

37.4

11.0

Lionel Messi

252.1

22.5

77.5

195.3

56.8

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

49

21.8

78.3

38.3

10.7

David Beckham

1.1

20.7

79.3

0.9

0.2

Ronaldinho

58

20.5

79.5

46.1

11.9

James Rodriguez

47

20.2

79.8

37.5

9.5

Virat Kohli

144.7

19.4

80.6

116.7

28.0

Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have a staggering amount of Instagram followers—Cristiano Ronaldo with 329.1 followers and Lionel Messi with 252.1. However, their alleged fake following is quite concerning.

Messi has an estimated 56.8 million fake followers and Ronaldo has an even greater number at 77.34 million alleged fake subscribers. ​​Both are two of the world’s top earners on Instagram and are paid over hundreds of thousands to promote products on their pages, but collaborators should be aware that many of these could be bots.

Virat Kohli had the highest percentage of real Instagram followers out of the 10 most popular sports stars on the platform. The Indian cricketer and the current captain of the India national team has 144.7 million followers and became one of the first cricketers to reach 100 million followers. 81% of these, 11.6,7m million, are expected to be real.

Actors: Study suggests Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has estimated 50 million fake followers on Instagram

Name

Followers (M)

Fake Followers (%)

Real Followers (%)

Real Followers (M)

Number of Fake Followers (M)

Chris Hemsworth

50.2

23.5

76.5

38.4

11.8

Robert Downey Jr

50.8

23.3

76.8

39.0

11.8

Shraddha Kapoor

64.9

22.8

77.2

50.1

14.8

Kevin Hart

119.9

22.7

77.3

92.7

27.2

Leonardo DiCaprio

49.3

22.5

77.5

38.2

11.1

Zendaya

104.1

21.8

78.3

81.5

22.7

Priyanka Chopra

67.3

20.7

79.3

53.4

13.9

Vin Diesel

73

20.5

79.5

58.0

15.0

Dwayne Johnson

263

20.2

79.8

209.8

53.2

Gal Gadot

60

19.4

80.6

48.3

11.7

The film stars analysed by TechRobot with the least fake followers are apparently Gal Gadot, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert Downey Jr and Chris Hemsworth. They all have real followers averaging over 75 per cent. However, ‘The Rock’ has over five times as many alleged fake followers: 53.18 million out of his massive 263 million followers is estimated too not be real. Again, this is likely the result of bots targeting well-known celebrities such as ‘The Rock’, whose films ‘Jungle Cruise’ and ‘Jumanji’ have been huge box office hits.

Musicians: Ariana Grande has 66.17 million alleged fake followers out of her astounding 194.13 Instagram followers

Name

Followers (M)

Fake Followers (%)

Real Followers (%)

Real Followers

Number of Fake Followers

Katy Perry

131.9

27.8

72.2

95.3

36.6

Miley Cyrus

142.1

27.2

72.8

103.5

38.6

Nicki Minaj

153.2

27.0

73.0

111.8

41.4

Demi Lovato

113.1

26.8

73.2

82.8

30.3

Taylor Swift

173.9

26.7

73.3

127.5

46.4

Jennifer Lopez

171.3

26.1

73.9

126.5

44.8

Justin Bieber

190

25.7

74.3

141.1

48.9

Selena Gomez

253

25.7

74.3

188.0

65.0

Beyoncé

200.7

25.5

74.5

149.6

51.1

Ariana Grande

260.3

25.4

74.6

194.1

66.2

Ariana Grande has the highest number of real followers out of the 10 most popular musicians on Instagram. 66.17m of her overall followers are real, with only 25.4% estimated to be fake profiles or bots.

The award-winning, American singer, actress, and songwriter is one of the highest-earning Instagrammers and has one of the most followed Instagram accounts of all time.

She’s had many endorsements deals with top brands which she has promoted all over her Instagram. These brands include Ultra Beauty, Givenchy, Reebok, Guess, MAC, Starbucks, Fiat, and even Samsung. Not to mention her own&