Eastbourne Conservative MP hopeful Caroline Ansell found herself in the middle of a Twitter torment this week.
The Sunday Times carried a story saying the mother of three, a teacher and schools inspector, had bulked up her Twitter account by following back scores of spam accounts and had more than 2,460 followers and was following 2,350 accounts, “irrespective of whether they were tweeting in Spanish, Arabic, Serbian, Finnish or Swahili”.
The newspaper said the Twitter account of Mrs Ansell, the Conservative Party’s prospective parliamentary candidate in the May General elections, showed she appeared to speak seven languages and was interested in images of scantily clad Chinese glamour models.
But the real reason behind the more unusual follows was that Mrs Ansell was using a controversial method of inflating her popularity by indiscriminately following back every account that followed her.
Mrs Ansell told the Herald, “My account was set with the normal Twitter courtesy of following back people who had chosen to follow me.
“Clearly, in the case of a clutch of accounts, this has not served me well.
“So, this automated setting has now been disabled and those accounts blocked.
“Nice of the Sunday Times to highlight me as the perfect parliamentary candidate though.”
The Conservative candidate has now de-cluttered her Twitter account and has 2,427 followers and is following 2,009 accounts.
Building up a following of thousands on Twitter can take years but users can subscribe to services that will automatically follow them back even if they have no interest in what that account is tweeting about.