Twitter is adjusting follower counts for fake users
Removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from follower lists
Posted on July 11, 2018 10:30 PM.
The New York TimesNicholas Confessore and Gabriel J.X. Dance
Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users followers on Thursday, signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular but embattled platform.
TwitterVijaya Gadde
Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a more significant drop. We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation.
The accounts in question are locked accounts, which means they were created by real people, but no longer have access or control over the account, rather than spam accounts (bots), which exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning. Because these are users that don't have access or control to their account, and haven't posted or interacted recently, Twitter says this move won't affect active user metrics.
The VergeCasey Newton
Reasons that Twitter would lock an account include tweeting a large volume of replies or mentions, tweeting misleading links, and being blocked by a large number of accounts after the account mentions them. Accounts can also be locked for more innocuous reasons, such as if the accounts email and password are posted online as part of a leak.
So why start with followers instead of likes or retweets?
TwitterVijaya Gadde
[Followers] is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility.
This move comes as part of a larger effort to improve the overall health of the platform, waging war on fake accounts, bots, and trolls. The other day, Twitter announced they had suspended 70,000,000 accounts since May, and the company recently acquired an anti-abuse and anti-spam startup Smyte to help combat issues on their platform.

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