Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Twitter purge: Don't be surprised if you lose followers

Former US President Obama lost 2.5 million followers; Trump saw his follower count drop by roughly 400,000 and Kim Kardashian unloaded 1.7 million followers in the last day.

His Twitter account was not spared by the purge on "fake" accounts that has seen popular personalities globally lose even up to a million followers.

The move was not expected to affect Twitter's average active user counts, which are key metrics Wall Street uses to track growth. Twitter began culling locked accounts from follower figures Thursday, and as the process continues to the numbers could decline further.

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Twitter Inc.'s top executive didn't slide by unscathed in the social-media site's crackdown on fake followers.

Barack Obama's (@barackobama) total followers shrank by 2.1 million, or 2.1%, to 101.5 million.

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.

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Another big loser in the purge was Twitter itself, which shed 7.5 million of its almost 63 million followers because of the change.

"This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility", Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a blog post. Rihanna, Ellen DeGeneres, Lady Gaga, also all lost about 2 million followers. Dorsey tweeted that he saw 200,000 of his own followers vanish. The social media giant is purging millions of suspicious accounts. The accounts that Twitter was purging today were locked accounts that the company "detected sudden changes in account behaviour" and if the owners didn't validate their accounts, they were henceforth purged.

In a statement, Twitter said most people will see a change of four followers or fewer and that larger follower counts will experience more significant drops.

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