If you have to pay for imaginary fans to follow you on Twitter, don't be surprised if they rise up to out you.
Richard Roeper finding this out the hard way.
This padding shouldn't be surprising at all. Book authors get their friends and family to write glowing reviews on websites, for instance.
There are almost no checks and balances for verification.
I don't know when the Internet became some sort of popularity contest -- it does nothing to incubate and foster genuine interest in information; so people look to smash and grab their way with puffing.
Roeper is not the only one, however.