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Top accounts lose millions of followers in Twitter purge

Influencers, politicians and celebrities have seen a huge drop in followers after Twitter slashed millions of suspicious accounts from their site.

The social media platform said it took the decision to build ‘trust’ and help tackle fake news and ‘bots’ on the site. The locked accounts were those which appeared to have unusual activity such as a large amount of unsolicited replies or mentions.

While the average Twitter user lost around four followers, some took a harder hit.

The biggest losers

Twitter itself was the most affected by the crackdown, losing 2% of its total followers overnight, around 7.7 million, while tech executive Elon Musk saw the smallest dip, 0.3%, or about 71,000 followers. YouTube also saw a loss of 2 million followers following the cull, while Barack Obama lost more than 2 million of his 104 million followers.

Twitter accounts that have lost the most followers:

  1. Twitter (-7.7 million)
  2. Katy Perry (-2.8 million)
  3. Justin Bieber (-2.7 million)
  4. Lady Gaga (-2.5 million)
  5. Barack Obama (-2.3 million)
  6. Taylor Swift (-2.3 million)
  7. Rihanna (-2.2 million)
  8. Britney Spears (-2.1 million)
  9. Ellen DeGeneres (-2 million)
  10. YouTube (-2 million)

Vanity metrics

Aly Pavela, a Twitter spokeswoman, said the work of eliminating the accounts from users’ follower counts will continue, expecting to create a total drop on the platform of around 6% of followers.

Although the biggest users of the platform may suffer a slight fall in popularity, marketers have praised Twitter’s decision to reduce inflated followings which can be bought to bolster political activism, business endeavours or entertainment careers.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social media analytics company Socialbakers, said: “This is a step in the right direction [towards] a digital-pollution-free environment for both marketers and users. 

“Improved transparency from platforms as a whole will help marketers who are looking to discover authentic influencers, better measure their impact, and focus their marketing activities on audiences that are open to engaging with them.”

In the spirit of full disclosure, B2B Marketing lost around 2% of its followers from the purge, some 2000 users.

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