Twitter users may soon see a lot fewer followers, as the company prepares to purge the system from locked accounts that have been disabled due to suspicious activity.
Officials said that locked accounts occur when they see sudden changes in behavior. They then reach out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, they stay locked with no ability to log in.
“We are committed to building trust and encouraging healthy conversations on Twitter,” the company posted. “Follower counts should be meaningful and accurate. We are removing locked accounts from follower counts.”
The company noted that some users may see a precipitous drop in their followers - though most will only see a slight change - as they begin deleting the accounts in earnest on Wednesday.
According to reports, the company suspended more than 70 million fake accounts this year and more than one million accounts have been deleted per day in July.
In a blog posted on Wednesday, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s director of legal, policy, trust and safety, said that “most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop. We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation.”
“Though the most significant changes are happening in the next few days, follower counts may continue to change more regularly as part of our ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts.”
Gadde specified that locked accounts on Twitter are different than spam accounts or “bots.”
“In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but we cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it. Spam accounts (sometimes referred to as bots) typically exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning, are increasingly predictable by our systems, and can be automatically shut down with our technology.”
On Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey posted "This week we’ll be removing locked Twitter accounts (locked when we detect suspicious changes in behavior) from follower counts across profiles globally. The number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down. #health"
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