Why Your Twitter Follower Count Might Go Down This Week

Why Your Twitter Follower Count Might Go Down This Week

That’s what the company is hoping, anyway. Over the next week, it will remove these profiles from users’ follower counts. Twitter says it’s removing locked profiles so that users’ follower counts more accurately reflect the number of real people who choose to follow their tweets. A locked account can’t post tweets and isn’t exposed to ads until the owner verifies that everything is OK. Most people will lose less than four followers, but “others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop,” Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, policy, and trust and safety at Twitter, wrote in a blog post announcing the change. In Wednesday’s blog post, Gadde said the change to locked accounts won’t affect Twitter’s monthly or daily active user count. Removing tens of millions of fake accounts might look like a red flag to investors, but it’s likely a welcome change for Twitter’s users. The social network has long been plagued by groups of bots and fraudulent accounts, including a notorious Russian-linked network that sowed chaos for years, culminating in an effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. The Pew Research Center found, for example, that two-thirds of links to popular websites on Twitter are posted by automated accounts. (That includes legitimate accounts that schedule tweets through an automated service.)

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After purging millions of fake or suspicious accounts in recent months, Twitter has announced a new policy around locked profiles.

Perhaps a healthier Twitter is one with smaller follower counts—even if that comes as a blow to your ego. That’s what the company is hoping, anyway. Over the last several months, Twitter has embarked on a renewed push to fight abuse and spam, as well as encourage healthy debates and conversations, and on Wednesday the social network announced it was expanding that effort to profiles it has locked for suspicious behavior. Over the next week, it will remove these profiles from users’ follower counts.

Twitter says it’s removing locked profiles so that users’ follower counts more accurately reflect the number of real people who choose to follow their tweets. Twitter locks an account as a penalty for violating its policies or when it detects a sudden change in behavior, like a significant uptick in replies, tweeting misleading links, or if a large number of people suddenly block the account. As a security protection, Twitter also sometimes locks an account when its credentials have been posted or leaked elsewhere online.

A locked account can’t post tweets and isn’t exposed to ads until the owner verifies that everything is OK. If no one verifies the account, it remains locked. Twitter says tens of millions of locked accounts will be affected by the change, representing about 6 percent of follows across the site. Most people will lose less than four followers, but “others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop,” Vijaya Gadde, head of legal, policy, and trust and safety at Twitter, wrote in a blog post announcing the change. If a locked account is reclaimed by…

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