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Given the outsized role Twitter played in the last Presidential election; both the real one (Trump’s use of it to reach the American people immediately and without a filter was unprecedented) and the imagined (no, Russian bots didn’t manipulate the election), it’s unsurprising a New York Times story about fake followers has sent some shockwaves.
In short: Some prominent folks, from celebrities to journalists to athletes have purchased fake followers from a company that traffics in such things. You want to seem more well-known, well-respected? Having 100,000 more Twitter followers; more people who seem to follow your every whim, goes a long way in adding to that cache. One of the individuals identified by the Times as having bought followers was Richard Roeper, a film critic from Chicago. Yesterday afternoon, this news broke: