LGB Alliance accused of artificially inflating the number of their followers
The LGB Alliance, an anti-trans ‘pressure group’, have been accused of artificially inflating the number of their followers on their Twitter account.
The accusation comes from Emily (last name witheld by request), a data scientist with a PhD in statistical physics who analysed the LGB Alliance’s followers and released a series of graphs analysing a sudden influx of new followers on the account.
Earlier this month feminist activist @KatyMontgomerie pointed out on her Twitter account that the LGB Alliance gained 1999 new followers on the 8th of February.
Since then it appears that 249 of these accounts no longer follow the LGB Alliance.
UPDATE: David Paisley has created a graph that shows how unusual this spike in followers is for the LGB Alliance. Daily new followers rarely surpassed 100 in the preceeding three months.
According to Emily, in her original twitter thread the sudden spike in followers was not the only thing that appears to be amiss.
Referring to a graph originally released by software engineer David Allsopp, Emily pointed out how the majority of the remaining 1750 new followers they gained on the 8th appear to have joined the service between 2011 and 2016.
It is also worth noting that the white gap above the highlighted cluster shows that the followers they gained on the 8th of February did not appear to include Twitter accounts created in the last three years.
For comparison she also released the same data range for transgender youth charity Gendered Intelligence. Their followers appear to have a more diverse series of signup dates including newly created accounts as well as older accounts.
In another graph Emily pointed out that the accounts mostly had made around 100 posts each during their time on the platform.
This certainly shows that the remaining 1750 accounts followed the LGB Alliance on the same day and that this influx of new followers is unusual for the LGB Alliance. It also shows that the vast majority of those strangely joined the service within the same period as well as most of them also having a very specific number of tweets on the accounts.
Whilst it has not been confirmed that the LGB Alliance were involved in this unusual activity on their account, it should be noted that there are many options available for artificially boosting the followers and engagements on your twitter account if you chose to do so.
The freelance services marketplace Fiverr features many individuals who offer services in providing Twitter followers and engagement.
There is also Followersale, Boostlikes, AppSally and many others that exist for this purpose.
The LGB Alliance did claim on their account that they had no idea where these new followers came from.
“Soft-blocking” is a term used on Twitter for removing followers without permanently blocking them. To do so all a user has to do is block the account they do not want to be followed by and then immediatly unblock them. This appears to be the likely reason why the number of new followers on their account dropped from 1999 to 1750.
They also noted that the idea of them artificially inflating their social media presence was “Very funny”.
Artificially inflating the number of followers on a Twitter account comes under “platform manipulation” which is a violation of Twitter’s terms of service.
According to Twitter, platform manipulation includes “inauthentic engagements, that attempt to make accounts or content appear more popular or active than they are.”
We approached Emily and asked her what she believed the data showed. She told us: “I think groups that try to manipulate the platform like that usually rely on the fact that such manipulation is difficult to see from the perspective of ordinary users. That’s how they get away with it.”
“I think that it’s simply not credible for them to claim this very statistically unlikely group just happened to follow them out of nowhere. Somebody organised that. Who did it and did money changed hands? That’s beyond the scope of my investigation, but it’s clear this is not just a coincidental occurrence.”
Referring to the 250 followers from the original 1999 that were no longer following the account Emily went on to say: “The fact that they deleted 250 of them is, in my opinion, an attempt to cover their tracks before getting bored, since manually removing followers without using a script is tedious.”
Opinion from Michelle Snow (WTT founder & pod talker)
So those are the facts. Everything that follows is the personal opinion of this writer Michelle Snow.
The LGB Alliance’s reputation relies on their claims that they represent a significant portion of LGB cisgender people. But there are plenty of signs that to sell this image they have resorted to some…less than honest means.
Also worth noting is that the LGB Alliance have made various claims in the past that they may well believe to be true but are actually demonstrably false. In my opinion, at various points, they have flat out lied and made false claims knowingly or they allowed weasily worded lies in the press to stand uncorrected.
On the 24th of October in 2019 The Times reported that a “Transgender dispute splits Stonewall” referring to the UK Based LGBT campaigning organisation.
In the report the LGB Alliance were referred to as a “breakaway group” and it was noted that Simon Fanshawe, an original Stonewall organisation founder, had spoken at an event for the group. At this point the LGB Alliance was made up of roughly 20 individuals and a Twitter account.
The piece was worded in a way that implied that Stonewall members and possibly even employees and other founders had broken away from the group. This was not true according to Stonewall themselves.
(It should also be noted that Lisa Power and Duncan Campbell both came on our podcast and rubbished the claims themselves. Both are Stonewall founders).
The LGB Alliance did not correct the record. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out why.
Also in a report on the Telegraph website (released on Christmas day 2020…classy) founders of the LGB Alliance claimed that lesbians faced extinction due to ‘transgenderism’.
This is a bare faced lie according to figures released by the office of national statistics which showed that the number of gay and lesbian people in the UK has increased every year between 2014 and 2018 except one.
Finally the LGB Alliance have seemingly attempted to mislead the public by portraying themselves as an organisation staffed by a diverse group who work in an actual office.
On the ‘About’ page on their website it used to include a group of young adults in an office meeting. Whilst the page did not say “this is a picture of us at work,” it is obvious that this image was meant as a representation of who the LGB Alliance are.
A simple search on royalty-free image website Pixabay showed that they didn’t even put much effort into this almost-but-not-quite-a-lie.
They have since removed this image, curiously after I pointed this out to them last month.
They also include on the ‘contact’ page of their website the following postal address:
Kemp House 152–160 City Road London EC1V 2NX
This address is not for a real office. It appears to be a ‘virtual office” they lease from a company called Capital Office. It is also the same address LGB Alliance founder (and young adult breastfeeding advocate) Ann Sinnot uses for her other company the Authentic Equity Alliance.
Seemingly they provided a good service to her.
They could have gone for a PO box. But they chose to use a virtual office address, I believe, to give a false impression about their legitimacy. Currently the only parts of the LGB Alliance I have been able to confirm that exists are their Twitter account, one Facebook group for their members and their website.
So when the LGB Alliance claim that the idea of them artificially boosting their Twitter followers and engagements is funny, to me it just sounds like business as usual for the LGB Alliance.
They themselves admitted that these new followers are most likely bots. The fact that the remaining 1750 accounts joined the service in the same time period, and they have an almost identical number of public tweets and they all chose to follow the LGB Alliance on the same day is just too much of a coincidence to be anything else.
But how can anyone believe that this wasn’t something they aren’t shameless enough to attempt? Or at the very least, possibly allowed others to do so for them whilst posting a condescending denial?
Their entire history is built on portraying themselves as being far more legitimate than they are. This was used by the media to create compelling content to attract readers to their adverts whilst allowing members and founders of the ‘organisation’ the oppurtunity to spread lies unchallenged to millions.
So yes. The very idea of the LGB Alliance artificially inflating their follower count (in breach of Twitter’s own terms of service) is certainly very funny. Mostly because of how much it makes sense considering their history of portraying themselves as anything more than a few apps on their founder’s mobile phones.
We haven’t approached the LGB Alliance for comment on any of this. Because honestly, what’s the point?
This report includes the amazing work of David Allsopp, Katy Montgomerie, David Paisley and Emily PhD. Follow them, they are all great and all I did here was collate their findings with my own.