Cuban Blogger Questioned by La Jornada from Mexico
News from Cuba | Monday, 27 February 2012
By Prensa Latina
The alleged popularity of Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez on Twitter was questioned by Mexican newspaper La Jornada because one-fourth of her followers on the net are inactive accounts.
According to the article "Who is Behind Yoani Sanchez?," by journalist Salim Lamrani, nearly 50 of Sanchez followers are in fact ghost accounts that create the illusion that the blogger enjoys great popularity in the social networks.
From all 214,063 profiles of her account, 27,012 are hollow or empty (without photo) and 20,000 have all the characteristics of ghost accounts with nonexistent activity on the net (from zero to three messages sent since the creation of the account), said Lamrani.
The article adds that those ghost accounts include 3,363 with no follower and 2,897 just follow Sanchez account, while some others have very odd features, as they have no follower, and only follow Sanchez and have sent over 2,000 messages.
It recalls that popularity in that social network relies on the number of followers--the more followers it has, the greater its exposure, and there is a strong correlation between the number of people followed and visibility.
According to Lamrani, the operation aimed at creating a fictitious popularity on Twitter is impossible to undertake without Internet access, and it also requires technological support and a consistent budget.
"For an army of 25,000 forged followers on Twitter you have to pay up to 2,000 USD, and for 500 profiles managed by 50 people you can spend between 12,000 and 15,000 USD," said Lamrani, quoting a study carried out by the daily.
The article also termed "almost incredible" the blogger's version that she posts things on Twitter through sms without Internet access, as "it is absolutely impossible to follow more than 80,000 people only via sms or from a weekly connection from an hotel."
According to Lamrani, Sanchez issues 9.3 messages daily on average while in 2011 she published some 400 messages a month; therefore, taking into account that the price of a message in Cuba is one convertible peso (CUC), it represents a total of 400 CUC monthly in that activity.
"Sanchez spends in Cuba a sum that amounts, if she were French, to 25,000 euros monthly on Twitter, or 300,000 euros a year. Where do resources needed for that activity come from?, " wonders Lamrani.
Other questions raised by the author include "How many people really follow the activities of this Cuban opponent on the social network? Who funds the creation of the fake accounts? What is the objective? Which are the interests behind the figure of Yoani Sanchez?"