Ideally, you aren’t the kind of person who can, off the top of your head, remember your exact Twitter follower count. (If you are, please log off immediately and go camping or something. Klout is dead. Nobody cares!) But you probably have a rough idea. Now go check your follower count. Is the number noticeably lower today than it was yesterday? You’ve probably been impacted by Twitter’s latest purge.
On Wednesday, the platform announced that it was removing all locked accounts from the platform. A locked account is, well, what it sounds like. An account that has been locked by Twitter until Twitter can verify that the account owner is still in control of the account. (This is not to be confused with a private account, which is denoted by a lock symbol. Those accounts are not locked accounts, but rather accounts where the user has chosen to hide their tweets from users they haven’t approved.) “If we detect sudden changes in account behavior, we may lock the account and contact the owner to confirm they still have control of it,” Twitter explained. “These sudden changes in account behavior could include Tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions, Tweeting misleading links, or if a large number of accounts block the account after mentioning them.”
Twitter noted that most users will “see a change of four followers or fewer,” but that larger accounts will likely see more significant decreases in follower counts. “This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility,” the platform explained on its blog. Earlier this year, a number of celebrities on Twitter — including Clay Aiken, Sean Hannity, and Lisa Rinna — experienced a significant drop in followers after Twitter reportedly purged over a million bot accounts from the platform.