The number of followers a public figure has on Twitter is a badge of honour nowadays – but with bots and the ability to buy followers, it’s best to take them with a pinch of salt.

In an attempt to crack down on fake followers, Twitter recently announced it would be culling locked accounts. These are accounts that have been blocked from tweeting because they put out a lot of replies or mentions on social media without any obvious reasoning.

Starting last week Twitter started hiding the accounts so they wouldn’t be counted in a user’s followers.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the purging would commence on his account, before confirming he had lost 200k followers in a tweet with three waving emojis.

Dorsey wasn’t the only high-profile tweeter to say goodbye to a huge number of followers that day, with the likes of actor Ashton Kutcher losing over a million followers alone, dropping from over 19m to 18m.

Website twitteraudit.com tells users how many of their followers are fake, so we ran a few high-profile tech figures through it to see which of them were not as popular as they may have thought - although it's important to note that 'fake' here probably means bots that have followed the account, rather than followers the user has purchased.

Elon Musk

Followers

21,366,594 Real

844,003 Fake

Audit Score: 96 per cent

Richard Branson

Followers

6,239,318 Real

6,339,952 Fake

Audit Score: 49 per cent

Bill Gates

Followers

17,192,584 Real

28,051,059 Fake

Audit score: 38 per cent

Apple

Followers

1,447,410 Real

148,411 Fake

Audit score: 90 per cent – however, it’s interesting to note that the company didn’t lose any followers in the purge

Sheryl Sandberg

Followers

241,531 Real

12,980 Fake

Audit score: 94 per cent

Sundar Pichai

Followers

968,307 Real

422,939 Fake

Audit score: 69 per cent

Twitter

Followers

57,844,885 Real

4,622,593 Fake

Audit score: 92 per cent

Ginni Rometty (IBM)

Followers

8,601 Real

2,960 Fake

Audit score: 74 per cent

And a few celebrities thrown in for good measure:

Kanye West

Followers

27,172,019 Real

696,718 Fake

Audit score: 97 per cent

Katy Perry (most followed Twitter account)

Followers

94,513,629 Real

12,281,432 Fake

Audit score: 88 per cent

Donald Trump

Followers

46,994,724 Real

6,166,729 Fake

Audit score: 88 per cent

However the best performing account so far was:

Katherine Lofthouse

Followers

459 Real

1 Fake

Audit score: 99 per cent