We're talking about the same widget. I never added it to my sidebar, but when WordPress.com instituted the Follow button "on the bottom right corner of your site" it showed up automatically.
In the beginning, it only showed people following the blog. Later they added social media followers you have on platforms that you have turned on under "publicize." So the total number of followers displayed now includes my blog followers, FB, and Twitter followers. Yes, that's my total number of followers in one sense, but it's not the total number of blog followers so it's misleading.
I'm going to look to see how I can turn the number off as you mention here and it shows on the link. Thanks for your help!