- Twitter announced on Wednesday that “locked” accounts would no longer count toward people’s follower numbers.
- Locked accounts are those that Twitter has frozen but not deleted because it has detected sudden changes in user behaviour.
- Twitter said the change means people – especially those with big followings – are likely to see a reduction in their follower numbers.
Twitter announced on Wednesday that this week it would no longer include “locked” accounts in users’ follower numbers in an attempt to restore faith in those counts.
In a blog post, Twitter said that most people would see a drop of about four followers but that those with larger follower numbers could “experience a more significant drop.”
A spokesman told Business Insider the changes would affect tens of millions of accounts, representing about 6% of all follows.
For celebrity Twitter users with huge followings, like Katy Perry (110 million followers), Barack Obama (104 million) and Donald Trump (53 million), this could mean a sizeable culling of their follower counts.
Twitter says it locks an account if it detects sudden changes in behaviour, such as tweeting lots of unsolicited replies or mentions, posting misleading links, or being blocked by numerous accounts after mentioning them.
Once an account is locked, it cannot tweet, like, or retweet, and it does not see ads. This isn’t the same as deletion, and Twitter often will unlock an account after a set period or once it has verified the account owner.
Twitter said locked accounts tend to have been created by real people, rather than bots.
The company added that the crackdown would not affect its monthly-active-user counts.
Its founder Jack Dorsey tweeted about the change on Wednesday, adding the hashtag #health. Dorsey and Twitter have been pushing a wider discussion about how to improve the “health” of conversations on Twitter, which has struggled to tackle abuse and harassment on its platform.
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 https://t.co/JGmE4ofoZ2
— jack (@jack) July 11, 2018
The company has also been trying to hone in on suspicious accounts over the past two months. Its share price dropped more than 8% on Monday, as investors fear the purge could hurt Twitter’s growth metrics.
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