Twitter announced Wednesday that it would start purging suspicious and dormant accounts from users’ follower counts.
“Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate,” the firm said in a blog post.
In the past, the company said it locked accounts when “sudden changes in account behavior” was detected. Then, the firm would reach out to the owners of the accounts and would keep them locked with no capacity to log in unless the owners can validate it and reset their passwords.
But now, Twitter said, “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.”
“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 company added.
Twitter attempted to clarify how these accounts are different from spam bots.
“In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but we cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it,” the company wrote. “Spam accounts (sometimes referred to as bots) typically exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning, are increasingly predictable by our systems, and can be automatically shut down with our technology.”
The firm said that the most significant changes to followers will take place in the coming days.
“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,” Twitter added.
Users Katy Perry, President Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Taylor Swift, and Beyoncé have the most Twitter followers.