Obama loses 2.5m followers in massive Twitter purge

Irene MckinneyJul 14, 2018

This is PM Modi's personal Twitter account, which is the third most followed Twitter handle globally after those of US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

Twitter bigwigs went to bed On Thursday with millions of followers on Twitter but woke up on Friday with less.

Twitter announced on Wednesday that it would no longer include "locked" accounts in follower numbers in an effort to boost user trust in the service.

His predecessor, Barack Obama, was hit even harder, falling by more than 2.5 million followers in the past 24 hours to 101 million followers.

President Trump has used the platform to make official statements, rant about news outlets, bully opponents, connect directly to his followers, and with a single tweet, caused a media firestorm.

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.

The New York Times reported that among those who lost followers were the current and former commanders in chief.

A Twitter audit carried out in March 2018 by Twiplomacy, a platform that assists organisations and governments to improve their digital strategy, claimed that more than 50% of followers of profiles of major leaders, including that of Modi, are likely to be fake. Rahul Gandhi followership tanked after microblogging site Twitter removed around 70 million fake accounts. Justin Timberlake rounds out the top 10 accounts with the biggest followings, but he's lost around 1.8 million overnight.

A Twitter crackdown on "locked" accounts has lead to some of its most high profile users losing millions of followers.

If your account has been locked during Twitter's purge, it will remain in the same state unless the owner validates the account and resets the password.

"People having an artificially-inflated follower count made up of bots and redundant accounts is at best deceiving and at worst, fraud". Twitter said it wants its users to have confidence that the follower numbers are "meaningful and accurate". The company predicted most users might see a modest impact, but that the loss would be amplified for accounts with large follower counts.

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