Starting tomorrow, if you are a social media enthusiast, you will lose at least four Twitter followers. But you are not alone. Many of us will lose Twitter followers in much larger numbers. Joining the drive for transparency across the social media platforms, Twitter will clean up trolls and boats. Follower counts are a visible feature, and Twitter wants everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate.
Over the years, Twitter’s team locked accounts when they detected sudden changes in account behavior. In these situations, Twitter reaches out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, they keep them locked with no ability to log in. This week, Twitter will 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. Twitter’s team says this may be hard for some, but they believe accuracy and transparency make the platform a more trusted service for public conversation.
This work is ongoing and part of our global effort to improve the health of the conversation. Though the most significant changes are happening in the next few days, Twitter follower counts may continue to change more regularly as part of our ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts.
Why does an account get locked?
If Tweeter detects sudden changes in account behavior, the team may lock the account and contact the owner to confirm they still have control of it. These sudden changes in account behavior could include Tweeting a large volume numbers of unsolicited replies or mentions, Tweeting misleading links, or if a large number of accounts block the account after mentioning them. Twitter sometimes locks an account if they see email and password combinations from other services posted online and believe that information could put the security of an account at risk — so they require accounts to change of their passwords for protection. Until they confirm that everything is ok with the account, they lock it which makes them unable to Tweet or see ads.
How are these accounts different from spam or bots?
In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but Twitter cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it.
Spam accounts (sometimes referred to as bot accounts) typically exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning, are increasingly predictable by Twitter systems, and are automatically shut down.
Why just followers? Will this expand to Tweets, Likes, and RTs?
Twitter’s team ongoing work to improve the health of conversations on platform encompasses all aspects of the service. This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on thr service and often associated with account credibility. Once an account is locked, it cannot Tweet, like or RT and it is not served ads.
Will this change affect your Monthly Active User (MAU) or Daily Active User (DAU) metrics?
No, it will not. Removing locked accounts from followers doesn’t impact MAU or DAU. Locked accounts that have not reset their password in more than one month are not included in MAU or DAU.
Continuing to Communicate with You
This is another step to improve Twitter for everyone, and ensure everyone has confidence in their followers. Follow @Twitter and @TwitterSafety for the latest updates.