Big Twitter Accounts See Follower Numbers Drop After Fake-User Purge

Sergio Cunningham
July 14, 2018

Locked accounts are those identified to have involved sudden suspicious changes in activity.

The Washington Post reported last week that Twitter has suspended more than one million accounts a day in recent months, and the rate has more than doubled since October, when the company, under congressional pressure, revealed how Russians used fake accounts to manipulate the USA presidential election.

Celebrity accounts on Twitter have seen a big drop in numbers overnight, thanks to a rule change by the company.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump), possibly Twitter's most controversial major user, saw his follower count drop by about 300,000, from 53.4 million to 53.1 million, on Thursday.

While there were several accounts with significant loss of followers, Twitter's main account (@Twitter) lost the highest.

President Kenyatta, who is among the most followed persons on Twitter in Africa lost 16,071 of his 3,234,935 followers while Mr Ruto unloaded 7,211 followers. Barack Obama went down 2.1 million.

Trump says he won't turn 'Perry Mason' on Putin over election meddling
They build on what the Obama administration did after US intelligence agencies concluded Moscow interfered in the 2016 election. Asked when exactly the allies would now reach their 2 per cent of GDP target, Trump said it would over the coming years.

Social media giant says it will start shutting down suspicious accounts it has locked. "In these situations, 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", Twitter announced on Wednesday.

Twitter purge has me down 715 followers. someone has to stop this madness.

Union minister Smriti Irani, who has, of late, been lying low on Twitter, lost close to 40,000 followers (8.19 million) while minister without portfolio Arun Jaitley was down by over 50,000 followers (13 million).

Since the above tweet was published on Thursday evening, Lewis's follower count has dropped further to 363,000. Other popular accounts also lost a huge chunk, but not as much as Twitter. On 11 July, the follower count was 26.68 million and now the figure is 26.55 million.

According to Twitter, the new measures are aimed at improving accuracy in a bid to make the site a "more trusted service for public conversation".

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