Jade Kevin Foster, a star of Netflix’s controversial reality TV series Byron Baes is making news headlines. However, it is not because of his actions or inactions on the show but rather because of his huge social media following.
Jade is a verified Instagram user with a large followership base of 1.2 million followers. Due to his large audience on the social media platform, he labeled himself “Australia’s biggest male influencer.”
One can argue that someone with over a million followers on Instagram has every right to give themselves such a label. However, in Jade’s case, there is so much scrutiny because there are questions about the authenticity of his followers.
Fans’ suspicions about Jade’s Instagram following heightened following social media talent agent Alex Reid’s revelations. Alex met Jade on Byron Baes and immediately became suspicious of his social media reputation.
Hence, Alex investigated Jade’s account and noticed some discrepancies. Alex told the show’s producers that he is well-versed in social media and believed Jade’s content did not align with someone with a considerable following.
Alex discovered that Jade had a massive 450,000 followers from Turkey. In addition, he also had more followers from Iran and India than from his native country, Australia.
In addition, Alex noted that when one buys Instagram followers, it is usually from places like Turkey, India, and Iran, where Jade got his fake audience.
However, when Alex confronted Jade about the authenticity of his Instagram followers, he remained defiant and claimed his worldwide travels earned him many fans in the countries mentioned above.
Jade countered by saying thorough research about him would prove that he had traveled the whole world and worked hard to reach his famed heights.
Jade further said to Alex per The Daily Mail, “You don’t understand anyone of my size because you’ve never managed anyone of my size.”
Despite Jade’s claims, a media kit he sent out to brands and businesses in 2018 showed an analysis of his audience demographics — his biggest audience was from the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, in that order. Surprisingly, there was no mention of Iran, Turkey, and India.
At the time of the media kit’s release, Jade had 1.1million Instagram followers. This means that between 2018 and 2021, there would have been a drastic change to more than half of the Netflix star’s audience.
A social media analysis of Jade’s Instagram account revealed more puzzling information. Social Blade discovered that he suddenly gained over 1.3 million followers in December 2020. Then, in January 2021, he lost roughly the same amount of followers.
The Decider ran an independent investigation into Jade’s IG followers and made interesting discoveries. It compared his account to those of other Australian influencers such as Chloe Morello and Lauren Curtis with a similar number of followers. The comparison was to see how these accounts stack up against each other on Google Trends.
Google Trends analytics showed that Lauren and Chloe’s accounts had much interest from fans. However, Jade’s account showed no such interest and was virtually nonexistent except for some occasional spikes.
The Decider said Jade’s purported massive fanbase would have reflected in Google Trends if it was authentic. The publication wrote:
“Interest in influencers extends outside of Instagram — and also a lot of people probably get to Jade’s Instagram by searching for ‘jade kevin foster’.”
It continued, “The weird thing is, Jade hypes himself up during his clapback to Alex, going in on how hard he’s worked to build his brand and his audience, etc. etc. But as of publication… Jade’s posted 4 times in 2022.”
The publication compared Jade’s IG posts at the time to that of Chloe and Lauren, who had 24 and 9 times, respectively. It also said Jade posted 12 times on his Instagram in 2021, an average of one post per month.
However, Jade remains adamant that his followers are real. During an episode of Byron Baes, he claimed that he gained numerous followers after The Kardashians star Kim Kardashian posted a picture of them together on her Instagram page years ago.
Jade also said he’d had his phone every second of his life, doing everything for his fans and followers. He described his followers as his best friends, adding that they give him joy and make him happy.
However, despite Jade’s best efforts to dispel claims that he bought Instagram users, Gold Coast personality, Kurt Coleman, lashed out at him.
In March 2022, Kurt posted a news story about Jade on his Instagram Stories. In the post’s caption, he wrote per The Daily Mail, “When people buy followers on social media. Just such wannabes these days.”
Can one buy Instagram followers?
The controversy surrounding the authenticity of Jake’s Instagram followers brings to light the questions surrounding the possibility of buying Instagram followers.
Many people wonder if it is possible to buy Instagram followers. The answer to this question is “yes.”
According to Hubspot, multiple cheap services allow one to buy 1,000 Instagram followers for as low as $10. However, many of those followers are inactive accounts or bots, meaning they won’t engage with the buyers’ posts.
However, note that buying Instagram followers goes against Instagram’s terms of service and could cost one’s account. In addition, the fake followers will not help one’s account, meaning the person’s posts won’t show on Explore Pages or real audience metrics. Measuring metrics for an account with fake followers will also be challenging.
Fake followers make one lose credibility and have no long-term value. Hence, it doesn’t make sense to invest in acquiring them if they don’t add much value except for the numbers.
Do celebrities have fake followers?
Many people wonder if their favorite celebrities have fake followers. A 2021 survey conducted using Modash, a social media auditing tool, showed some interesting information about the number of celebrities’ fake and real followers.
An audit of the top 10 Instagram accounts in sports, music, film, retail, politics, and television showed some intriguing results. Here is a list of some of them:
- Paris Hilton has the most fake followers on Instagram, with bots inflating her total number of followers by 28.6%.
- Fashion brand Nike has about 46 million followers.
- Soccer stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have an alleged combined total of about 134 million fake Instagram followers due to bots.
- Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has an estimated 50 million fake followers.
- Singer Ariana Grande has about 66 million alleged fake followers
- Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Donald Trump have 17-23% of alleged fake followers.
- Kim, Kourtney, and Khloé Kardashian, Kris, Kylie, and Kendall Jenner, have an alleged estimated total of 276 million fake followers.
However, the study noted that fake followers did not mean the followers were purchased. Instead, they could be bots following famous people, profiles unaware they have an account, or inactive accounts.
Although the study brought up several famous names, it is improbable that they bought followers. In addition, those celebrities draw large engagements to their posts, showing that most of their followers are real.
However, in Jade’s case, it is hard to prove the authenticity of his followers. The self-proclaimed “Australia’s biggest male influencer” needs to do more to establish that his large followership base is not just filled with fake accounts and bots. He can start by at least posting regularly and drawing engagement.