Public figures and celebrities on Twitter could expect the number of their followers to significantly drop, as the social media platform begins a systemic purge of the millions of suspicious accounts.
Many of these come in the form of "locked accounts," users that Twitter has disabled based on a detected change in their usage. Twitter's Vijaya Gadde, Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead for the company, has laid out the details in an official blog post on Wednesday, July 11.
"Over the years, we've locked accounts when we detected sudden changes in account behavior," she explained, adding that Twitter has kept them locked until their owners were able to confirm that they own the account. This week, Twitter will be making changes to the way follower counts are calculated.
"This week, we'll be removing these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. As a result, the number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down," Gadde wrote.
The platform believes that this move to take out locked accounts from the follower count would result in making Twitter a more accurate and transparent service. Users who have amassed thousands of followers can expect their follower counts to fluctuate starting this week and even afterward.
"Follower counts may continue to change more regularly as part of our ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts" Gadde continued, as quoted by BGR.
Twitter is now currently locking down or suspending a million accounts per day, in a battle with fake users, fake news and spam, according to CNet.
The number of followers was widely seen as a measure of someone's influence on Twitter, at least until recent investigations revealed a teeming underground market for fake accounts and stolen online identities being sold to advertisers, businesses and celebrities, as revealed in an in-depth report by the New York Times.