As part of its ongoing efforts to purge fake accounts and fight automated spam bots, Twitter has announced that it will remove all locked accounts from the follower-counts of other users. The policy comes in to effect from Thursday, and according to the company, will help it in its “ongoing and global effort to build trust and encourage healthy conversation healthy conversation on the platform”.
One of the effects of the new policy is many users will see a slight drop in their follower counts, although, it will only be restricted just “four followers or fewer” for most people. “Others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop”, says the company. The company says it plans to review accounts on a regular basis, which means, users may see their follower counts see-saw fairly regularly going forward, depending on your usage and followers.
“We don’t want to incentivize the purchase of followers and fake accounts to artificially inflate follower counts, because it’s not an accurate measure of someone’s influence on the platform or influence in the world. We think it’s a really important and meaningful metric, and we want people to have confidence that these are engaged users that are following other accounts” – Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for trust and safety
According to NYT, the action may result in celebrities, public figures and social media influencers losing ‘tens of millions’ of followers from their kitty, given that many of them have a large number of bots among their followers. That being the case, the removal of all these accounts will result in a reduction in the total follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent.
As was revealed in a report earlier this year, many influencers and celebrities are buying bot accounts to bulk up their follower-count to get higher advertising rates from sponsors. At the center of the scandal was an US-based firm called Devumi that was believed to sell fake followers to social media users. Following the exposé, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened an investigation on the company, and the US Congress even called for the FTC to intervene in the matter.