Move will not affect its number of monthly or daily active user figures, says Twitter
Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers on Thursday, signalling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular platform.
“We are committed to building trust and encouraging healthy conversation on Twitter. Follower counts should be meaningful and accurate. We are removing locked accounts from follower counts,” said Twitter on a post.
Twitter users are likely to see a reduction in their follower counts in the coming days.
For many, this will amount to a reduction of four followers or less. But large accounts of celebrities and public figures could see bigger drops. While Twitter declined to provide an exact number of affected users, the company said it would strip tens of millions of questionable accounts from users’ followers. The move would reduce the total combined follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent — a substantial drop.
An account that’s been locked can’t tweet, like or retweet posts, and it won’t be shown ads. “What are locked accounts? When we see sudden changes in behaviour, we lock accounts. We reach out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, we keep them locked with no ability to log in,” said Twitter.
The company said on Wednesday that the move will not affect its number of monthly or daily active user figures. In the first three months of the year, it had 336 million active users.
An investigation by The New York Times in January demonstrated that just one small Florida company sold fake followers and other social media engagement to hundreds of thousands of users around the world, including politicians, models, actors and authors. The revelations prompted investigations in at least two states and calls in Congress for intervention by the Federal Trade Commission.
Along with other social networks, Twitter was a critical tool for Russian influence during the 2016 election, when tens of thousands of accounts were used to spread propaganda and disinformation.