Did you go to bed having over 100,000 followers on Twitter but when you woke up this morning you only had less than 50,000? No, your account has not been hacked; this is part of a digital clean up that Twitter announced a few days ago.
Thousands of Twitter users have experienced a reduction in the number of their followers following a clean-up exercise by the social media firm that is now being referred to as the Twitter Purge.
The firm indicated that it would be removing locked accounts from the platform as part of its ongoing and global effort to build trust and encourage healthy conversations on Twitter.
Twitter’s legal, policy, trust and safety department wrote in a statement saying, “Over the years, we’ve locked accounts when we detected sudden changes in account behavior. In these situations, we reach out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, we keep them locked with no ability to log in. 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.”
These locked accounts are also known as bots.
The most affected accounts are those belonging to politicians, celebrities and social media influencers who lost thousands of followers. It is reported that US President Donald Trump has lost about 400,000 of his 53.4 million followers in the Twitter Purge so far, while former US President Barack Obama lost more than 2 million of his 103.6 million followers.
Obama however still has the most number of followers compared to any former or current head of state.
Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not spared either, in a Tweet this morning, Jack Tweeted that he lost 200,000 of his 4 million followers.
The purge also extended to Twitter’s own account which shed millions of followers.
Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey lost 1.4 million followers while Ellen DeGeneres lost 2 million.
Back home, several celebrities, media houses, companies and other users were also affected with the clean up.
The statement by Twitter concludes, “Our ongoing work to improve the health of conversations on Twitter encompasses all aspects of our service. 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. Once an account is locked, it cannot Tweet, like or Retweet and it is not served ads.”