Twitter users will see a drop in their follower counts on Thursday as the company clamps down on “problematic” and “fake’’ accounts, The New York Times is reporting.
Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular platform.
The affected accounts will include those that have been hijacked to spread abuse, misinformation and propaganda.
The online news and social networking service says users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts.
Also mentioned was buying the appearance of social influence to bolster political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.
Twitter will also remove all locked accounts from people’s follower numbers. Most people will see a change of “four followers or fewer” but accounts with larger followings will experience a “more significant drop”, the company said.
Twitter locks accounts when it detects “sudden changes in account behaviour” – for example, if the account tweets a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions; if the account posts misleading links; or if a large number of other accounts block the account in question.
Accounts can also be locked if the platform finds that someone’s login credentials have been leaked elsewhere, for example through a data breach at another service.
In both cases, Twitter contacts the owners of the account and asks them to validate the account and reset their password. If the owner doesn’t comply, the account remains locked.
Social media enthusiasts say Twitter’s purge may affect some Nigerian “celebrities” with questionable huge following.
It’s common knowledge that the quest for millions of followers have seen many celebrities buy fake likes and followers on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram. The latter is the worst hit.
Nigerian celebrities, corporate organisations, small businesses and even individuals are also guilty. Experts refer to the trend as Vanity Metrics-a social media trend, which makes people feel happy about their activities on social media.
Quite a number of Nigerian celebrities are known to artificially inflate their Twitter followers to make themselves appear popular online.
Like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram routinely removes accounts to limit spam and prevent users buying followers to appear more popular.
Many celebrities were affected by an Instagram purge in 2015. The affected stars included Genevieve Nnaji, Don Jazzy, Tonto Dikeh and many others.