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Nearly half of Elon Musk’s Twitter followers are fake, new data reveals

Shortly after Forbes published the World’s billionaires list of 2021, Cashfloat took it upon itself to have a closer look at it in order to establish the entrepreneurs with the highest number of fake followers on Twitter—don’t ask why, just trust the process. And surprise, surprise, space bro Elon Musk sits on top of the list with over 28 million of his 60 million followers being fake, which equals to 46.5 per cent of his Twitter fanbase. Let’s analyse the nine other wealthy individuals who made it to the top ten now, shall we?

In second place with 42.3 per cent (over 23 million) comes Bill Gates, followed by the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, Sundar Pichai, with 39.3 per cent. Then comes Musk’s nemesis, Jeff Bezos, who has 38.7 per cent fake Twitter followers. Jack Ma Yun, co-founder and former executive chairman of Alibaba Group, takes fifth place with 244,839 fake followers. Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and Bloomberg’s co-founder—yes, he also briefly took part in the US presidential election of 2020—allegedly has 34.8 per cent of his Twitter following made up of fake accounts.

Because this list would not be merely as fun as it is now without the complete space race trio, we see Richard Branson take seventh place with more than 4 million fake followers, which only represents 33.5 per cent due to his impressive total Twitter following. Branson appears just above Jack Dorsey, also known as the man who graced us with Twitter in the first place. 29.6 per cent of Dorsey’s followers on his own platform are bots.

Next up in ninth place is Mackenzie Scott, who lands a lot lower than her ex-husband, Bezos, with only 23.8 per cent of fake Twitter followers—43,043 out of her total 180,855 followers. And last but not least of the ten entrepreneurs analysed, Steve Ballmer, who was CEO at Microsoft for 14 years, has the lowest number of fake followers (amounting to only 23.5 per cent).

In order to determine who the filthy rich people with the highest percentage of fake Twitter followers were, Cashfloat first had to identify a seed list of the world’s wealthiest individuals. Once each one of them was looked up on Twitter to verify whether they have an active account, Cashfloat got some help from SparkToro’s fake followers auditing tool, which was utilised to measure the number and percentage of fake followers of each respective well-to-do person.

While other renowned entrepreneurs such as Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerburg and Mukesh Ambani were omitted from the data as they no longer have an active Twitter account, the insights on the ones whose tweets literally shake up the stock market are alarming.

Jeff Bezos announces plans to build a ‘space hotel’

Reports have revealed, including those from the BBC, that Blue Origin—Jeff Bezos’ spaceflight services company—is planning to take yet another step into the world of space tourism. Leaders from Blue Origin announced, at a press conference held on Monday 25 October, plans to create a commercial space station. And it’s thought to come sooner than you’d think.

The commercial space station, named ‘Orbital Reef’, is hoped to be in operation by the end of the decade. In marketing material released by the spacecraft company, the proposed station is described as a “mixed-use business park” in space and will be able to host up to ten people (a volume almost as big as the International Space Station [ISS])—you really can do remote work from anywhere these days. Orbital Reef is set to be built in low Earth orbit and will offer budding consumers an opportunity for research and tourism, says Blue Origin.

“The station will open the next chapter of human space exploration and development by facilitating the growth of a vibrant ecosystem and business model for the future,” it added.

“Seasoned space agencies, high-tech consortia, sovereign nations without space programs, media and travel companies, funded entrepreneurs and sponsored inventors, and future-minded investors all have a place on Orbital Reef,” the company further noted. Someone might be left out of the loop however—I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Elon Musk’s invitation got lost in the space mail.

Blue Origin’s initiative will be conducted in collaboration with Boeing and Sierra Space (backed by Redwire Space, Genesis Engineering Solutions and Arizona State University), both of which will contribute in building the space station by providing human and cargo transportation to the commercial station. Not only will the 32,000 square feet station be used as an ideal rest stop for Blue Origin customers but it will also offer an optimal location for “film-making in microgravity” as well as including a “space hotel.” Don’t worry, the hotel comes with a view.

Orbital Reef announced that its station will have large Earth-facing windows so that space tourists can “take in the beauty of our planet” and “experience the thrill of weightlessness in complete comfort.” At the press conference announcing the venture, both Blue Origin and Sierra Space declined to provide an estimate of the building costs—though we must assume it’s going to cost a pretty penny.

This proposal seems to come at the perfect time as NASA searches for options to replace the 20-year-old ISS; Boeing vice president and programme manager for the ISS John Mulholland said in a statement on the proposed commercial station, “This is exciting for us because this project does not duplicate the immensely successful and enduring ISS, but rather goes a step further to fulfil the unique position in low Earth orbit where it can serve a diverse array of companies and host non-specialist crews.”