False Followers – follow up

I have contacted WordPress, and it appears that the false follower problem is widespread and receiving attention. Here are two observations from a WordPress Forum that illuminate a little, and a reply I got from WordPress:

  1. So my hypothesis about these nefarious Email Followers may be correct: I suspect that, whenever we post a new article in our blogs, these bogus ‘followers’ (probably a bot of some kind) receive a notification e-mail and a bot then adds a Comment on the new article, and that comment would contain spam links.


2) from a WordPress “expert”


Howdy all,

Thanks for all the reports. We’re aware of this issue and working block these spam followers. We cannot just block all @outlook.com emails, though, as that will also block many real people from following your sites, so this isn’t just a quick simple fix.

I know this is incredibly annoying, but I also want to reassure you that that’s all it is – annoying. There is no way these spam followers can put your site, your content, or your private account data in any danger. It just increases the number of email notifications WordPress.com needs to send out for each new post, so if anything it’s an attempted attack on us trying to overload our email servers, not on your sites or accounts.

You can remove the spam followers under My Site ->People, but that won’t prevent new follows from coming in. You might also consider temporarily disabling email notifications of new followers in your account settings until we manage to get these blocked. You’ll still see a notification each time in the WordPress.com admin bar, but at least you won’t have your inbox flooded with emails from fake subscriptions.

Please don’t email these addresses back – another potential reason for this is that someone is fishing for emails which they can then use to try and spam directly, and emailing them back will only provide them with your personal email address – something they cannot get hold of by merely following your site.

We’ll update this thread with more details on this once we have them.

  • 3) A reply to my notification to WordPress

    Hi there!
    I’m Darcie, a member of the¬†WordPress.com Expert community. It appears that this is happening to other bloggers, and staff is aware. You can see a recent reply from staff on this matter here:https://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/weird-followers/page/2?replies=49#post-3064066

    There’s no security issue, and your blog is not in any danger by having these spammy followers. You can remove them, if desired.

    Hopefully that provides more information on the issue! Let me know if I can answer any other questions.

For now, delete the false followers and wait for new information!

ALERT: false “followers”

I have received numerous e-mails in the last week informing me of a “new follower” to this blog. They all come from the same domain (outlook.com), arrive frequently, and bear names that made me suspicious – e.g.¬†gabalanzvnaliciaqz – and deterred me from clicking on the link of the “name” to see who my “new follower” was.

I do not know what lies behind these computer-generated false identities, but I know not to explore them, at a time when one foolish click can cause malware to download invisibly to your computer.

I have also noticed that the counter on my main blog page says I have a suspiciously large number of followers. Check out “wordpress.com/people/e-mail followers” to see if any suspicious names appear; you can delete them from there. But I suggest you DO NOT click on these “names” to see who is now following your blog!

This may all be nothing, but could also be something bad. I don’t want to spoil your day, but take a look at your “e-mail followers” list!

Good wishes to all my real WP friends!