Social media is the lifeblood of celebrity – you can’t be famous without being seen to be famous, everywhere, all over the world, day in, day out. Some acquire celebrity status thanks to the successful exercise of a natural gift – like Ellen DeGeneres, with her undisputed talent for comedy. Some become famous for being famous – a trick that Kim Kardashian turned into an art. Ultimately, though, what counts in the casino of clicks is how many followers you have. No wonder that celebrities are prepared to cheat their way to the top of the rankings. Some of these names will shock you…
The official title of the showbiz celebrity with the highest amount of fake followers goes to Ellen DeGeneres. No fewer than 49% of the queen of comedy’s followers aren’t human at all – they’re bots, purchased to boost this insecure celebrity’s social media profile. But how engaged can an audience of bots possibly be?
Big bad bot buzz
There is a huge buzz at the moment around the K-pop group BTS. The handsome Koreans have a fan army numbering in the millions. Some of them are bona fide celebrities like Camila Cabello, Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton, who turned out to watch them at the 2019 Grammys. However, no fewer than 47% of them are completely fake.
Kourtney Kardashian, famous for being the sister of somebody famous, is having a rough time as she approaches the big 40. In a recent episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, a nasty fight with big sister Kim led Kourtney to consider cancelling her big bash. Perhaps this sibling rivalry is the reason that 46% of Kourney’s social media followers are as fake as a three dollar bill.
Shake it off
Taylor Swift has always shrugged off criticism with a glib “haters gonna hate” as she croons and shimmies her way from one smash hit to the next. Does it make a difference that 46% of her online follower army consists of automated software programmed to convince people it is human? Probably not – most Americans can’t tell bots from humans anyway, so there’s a good chance Taylor Swift will shake it off.
Lipstick on a pig
After announcing the cancellation of all further meet and greets on her European tour “for her mental health”, Ariana Grande explained that meeting fans was making her anxious and she only “wants to give the best version” of herself. Fans who were hoping to meet their idol were heartbroken – except, presumably, the 46% of Grande’s online followers who are as genuine as lipstick on a pig.
Can’t sing, can’t dance
Deepika Padukone is one of the biggest Indian actresses in the world. Not only has she achieved success in the Bollywood market, but she has also crossed over into Hollywood with the major film Xxx: Return Of Xander Cage. Now rumour has it that she is about to record her debut album as a singer. With so much talent, perhaps she could lose the 46% of her social media followers who can’t sing, dance or act because they are bots.
The media have been good to Miley Cyrus. From her previous incarnation as Hanna Montana to her more recent persona as a real-life wrecking ball, Billy Ray’s more famous daughter has lived her life more on other people’s phones than in public. Even her break-up with Liam “Hunger Games” Hemsworth was announced on social media before anybody else could hear about it. No doubt the 45% of her online followers who are bots are working hard to spread the news.
The first people to know about Katy Perry’s engagement to Orlando Bloom were her Instagram followers, when the 34-year-old celebrity uploaded an image captioned “full bloom”. Then she decided to postpone her wedding because she found out that Bloom was secretly exchanging text messages with Selena Gomez. The ups and downs of the relationship have had her followers on the edge of her seats – except for the 44% of them who, being bots, have no use for seats.
Social media can make you famous and it can get you into trouble. Just ask Khloé Kardashian, who caught a lot of flak from a tweet she posted on 11 September this year. While the tweet only read “Proud to be Armenian”, a lot of people thought it was in poor taste to tweet it on the 18th anniversary of that terrible day in New York. Fortunately for her, at least 43% of her followers, being incorporeal assemblages of code, had no opinion on the matter.
Fans go without cake
Priyanka Chopra is another Indian movie star who has made the transition from Bollywood to Hollywood. Not only have her performances in Baywatch made an impression on viewers, but she is the first Indian lead actress in a primetime US series (“Quantico”). To top it all off, her marriage to pop singer Nick Jonas last December sealed her reputation as a global celebrity. Having achieved such fame, she can surely afford to retire the 43% of her social media fans who got not wedding cake because, as bots, they have no mouths.