Big Twitter Accounts See Follower Numbers Drop After Fake-User Purge

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By 5 p.m., President Trump's @realDonaldTrump account had lost about 300,000 followers, bringing his total down to a still impressive 53.1 million.

"This week, we'll be removing these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally", said Twitter.

"The people who are doing the clean up on Twitter should be given the task to deal with graft in Kenya, I think they will wipe it out completely", said one Twitter user.

Celebrity accounts on Twitter have seen a big drop in numbers overnight, thanks to a rule change by the company.

Social Blade, a social media platform user statistics website, is tracking the slide in real time. Trump remains the 18th most-followed person on Twitter.

Although losing 2 million followers is undoubtedly a significant drop, proportionally speaking it's not necessarily huge. The change in follower counts doesn't affect the active user totals Twitter tracks and reports on a quarterly basis to investors, according to the company.

Others taking big hits included Taylor Swift, at 2.7 percent; Ellen DeGeneres, 2.5 percent; Lady Gaga, 1.9 percent; Justin Bieber, 1.3 percent; and Rihanna, 0.6 percent.

Kenyans were not the only ones affected as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey himself reported that he lost 200,000 followers. "We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation", Twitter reiterated.

The microblogging site explained that it has been locking accounts when it detected sudden changes in account behaviour.

The Washington Post reported last week that Twitter has suspended more than one million accounts a day in recent months, and the rate has more than doubled since October, when the company, under congressional pressure, revealed how Russians used fake accounts to manipulate the US presidential election.

The majority of Twitter users will see a reduction of four followers or fewer, but those with larger follower counts will see a bigger drop, the company said.

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