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The Curious Case of Alex Diaz de la Portilla and the 10,000 Fake Twitter Followers

June 18, 2017 - 8:30pm

At the beginning of May, Alex Diaz de la Portilla decided to get a little bit more active on social media.

If he was going to run for office again in Miami's 40th Senate District, DLP would make sure he got with the times -- and that meant using platforms like Twitter to make his message heard loud and clear.
DLP boasts over 10,000 followers on Twitter. His tweets consistently pull in dozens of likes and retweets, a sign which seemingly indicates the Florida Senate hopeful has his constituents and popularity on his side. 
There’s only one problem: Diaz de la Portilla’s army of loyal “followers” isn't real. 

Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count May 18
Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count May 18

In the middle of May, Diaz de la Portilla had a few thousand Twitter followers. As weeks went by, that number quickly climbed, from around 1,900 followers on May 18 to 6,500 just nine days later.
By the beginning of June, Diaz de la Portilla had accumulated over 10,000 followers.
Sunshine State News analyzed thousands of Diaz de la Portilla’s followers and found many of them have no connection to politics -- or to Florida at all.

Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count May 27
Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count May 27

Many of Diaz de la Portilla’s followers seem to have been plucked from obscurity, with followers coming from the Midwest all the way to Africa.
Some self-identify as “sparkle fairies,” electronic dance music festival fans and Taylor Swift lyric pages. 

When Diaz de la Portilla first started tweeting, he was lucky to get three or four likes or retweets at most per tweet. Once his follower count went up, Diaz de la Portilla’s “likes” and retweets skyrocketed too.
So how do you gain thousands of fake followers and fake engagement in a short period of time?
There are a few ways -- one is through Twitter ads, where users and business pages will set up promotional campaigns in order to gain followers with similar interests in specific categories like books, sports or politics. 
The other method is not quite as targeted.
Using a free service from an unofficial page, Twitter users can quickly signup and start accumulating followers from all over the world. 

Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count June 17
Alex Diaz de la Portilla follower count June 17

By chipping in a few extra bucks, their reach can be expanded to an even greater number of bots/fake followers who will often “follow back” even if they have absolutely nothing in common.
Most people signing up are all there for the same thing -- to gain as many followers as humanly possible to appear more popular than they actually are.
The same system can be used to gather retweets and “likes” from the same fake accounts, most of which are bots. Several of the accounts retweeting Diaz de la Portilla’s tweets write out tweets in Arabic, promote pop singer Ed Sheeran and several are wannabe rappers.
Alex Diaz de la Portilla’s own admission of guilt seems to have come straight from the horse’s mouth, however. 
When Sunshine State News speculated Diaz de la Portilla had bought his followers, he swiftly blocked reporter Allison Nielsen from his following his page and does the same to any other account suggesting the hordes of people following him might not actually be real at all.
Diaz de la Portilla’s latest tweet features a selfie with a Bay of Pigs veteran taken at a Miami event featuring Donald Trump on Friday.
“With Félix Rodríguez, a veteran of the Bay of Pigs. #CubaLibre,” Diaz de la Portilla wrote.
Another Ed Sheeran fan page bot hit the “like button.” The cycle was complete. 


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Interesting article about a so-called conservative who blocked EVERY gun bill from being heard in his committee. If he is so popular, why buy the fake support? I would rather see a TRUE conservative than DLP. BTW, this pay to play comes straight from Corcoran's play book when he paid a fake reporter 20K to write an article naming him king of the 2017 session.

This story is complete garbage, the left wing media will do anything to attack a loyal conservative. What's funny about this story is that instead of focusing on real news, Allison Nielsen focuses on spinning up fakenews!!! Sorry but I personally trust Alex to do the right thing, he's the only Republican running who supports the President. #MAGA drain the swamp!! Stop the Liberal Media Propaganda!!

I think this is a conservative news publication. Also, Jose Felix Diaz is running and supports the president. He was one of the few to attend his inauguration. Check your facts before just writing online and stop blaming everything on the liberal media. This story just shows you how far someone will go to win an election as to lie about their twitter following, this just makes him a lame candidate.

Allison, "your slip is showing" again... Think you need a 'journalism 101' course "under your belt" to counterbalance your "Psych & Social" education...

How is this news? No, seriously I need someone to explain this to me. This is a witch hunt and a sad one at that. Why don't you discuss the issues. How about how one person running for Senate just gutted our Public School System because all of a sudden Charter Schools are the hip thing to support or is it because they have deep pockets and can write checks. Why don't you write an article on where the money is coming from? Or perhaps you're on the gravy train as well and this is what your suppose to or told to do. Your just another media hack.

Well, let's analyze the opponents "likes." 90% Tallahassee who are paying to play, instructed by leadership on both sides, or all of the opponents endless list of lobbying clients. They may have the money to purchase, but they don't live in the district. You seem more like a woman scorned, than a professional journalist.

Far more curious is your refusal to write about how DLP is eviscerating his opponent in the polls, how his opponent and crooked cronies are passing legislation that funnels our tax dollars to companies in which they have financial interests under the guise of "helping children," or how his opponent, aided by his notoriously unscrupulous and untalented consultants, is waging a dirty and defamatory campaign predicated on false and malicious personal attacks through political committees because he (and they) doesn't have the courage to do it head on and are desperately trying to protect his only asset (i.e., his fake good boy image). Instead, your "journalistic" piece is about buying Twitter followers. It begs the question... how much did they buy you for?

No one wants a woman beater and coke head representing us in Tally. If you think he is the better option, you must be his drug dealer in Tally.

Or his girlfriend???

Nothing from Nielsen on CNN's daily barrage of fake liberal communist news, but jump on DLP because you're jealous.

Amazing, makes me wonder about all the other ratings systems and product reviews.

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