Twitter follower count dropping? It’s not you, it’s them

Twitter has begun deleting locked accounts from its system

Twitter has starting deleting locked accounts.

Twitter has starting deleting locked accounts.

 

Have you noticed your Twitter follower count falling a little today? No, it’s nothing that you said - or didn’t say, as the case may be. Twitter has started removing locked accounts from its systems, meaning your follower count could be hit.

Here is how it has worked up until now. A Twitter account suddenly starts showing unusual behaviour - maybe it starts tweeting at other users out of nowhere, or spreads misleading links. Twitter will then lock that account and get in touch with the owner to see if they still have access to the account. If they do, and they validate the account,Twitter allows them to reset their password and carry on using the account. If there is no response or contact, the account stays locked.

Locked accounts cannot tweet, like or retweet. They are also excluded from Twitter’s ad platform.

But this week Twitter will start removing the locked profiles from follower counts. You might see your follower numbersdrop by a handful of accounts or a significant number, depending on how many people are hanging on your every Twitter update. Twitter estimates four or fewer for the average user.

“We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation,” said Vijaya Gadde, legal, policy and trust & safety lead for Twitter.

“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.”

Twitter is targetting follower accounts because it is one of the most visible features on the service, and regardless of whether you personally agree, it is often seen as a measure of credibility.

The move is another measure being taken by the social media platform to build trust with users. In recent months it has introduced several changes to help tackle the problem of abusive behaviour on Twitter, including making reporting abusive accounts easier, and temporarily limiting the reach of some accounts for engaging in such behaviour.