Influencers, brace yourselves: Twitter will no longer be counting ‘locked’ accounts — or those that the company has shuttered upon detecting suspicious changes — toward total followers. The New York Times reports that the change will account for tens of millions of lost followers, or 6% of Twitter’s total user base.
Twitter said that the move is part of an “ongoing and global effort to build trust and encourage healthy conversation,” and to ensure that follower counts are “meaningful and accurate.” The company explained that most people will only lose four or fewer followers as a result of the purge, though larger creators will experience a substantial drop. In addition to these changes over the next few days, Twitter says that “follower counts may continue to change more regularly as part of our ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts.”
Accounts get locked when Twitter detects sudden changes in behavior — such as tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies, mentions, or misleading links. Once an account is locked, owners must reset their passwords, or they are unable to sign back in. Locked accounts differ from spam accounts and bots, Twitter notes, in that they were most likely created by real people who no longer have access to them.
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Twitter says that the change will not affect its monthly and daily active user metrics, because locked accounts were never included in this data. “We understand this may be hard for some,” the company said of the change, “but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation.”