Celebrities lose followers amid crackdown — Fake Twitter users

Major celebs, politicians and social media influencers are at the receiving end of Twitter's major crackdown on fake and bot accounts. They specified that they would be removing locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally, so we were to expect a drop in follower counts today.

Back in January, the New York Times took a deep dive into an obscure company called Devumi, which sells Twitter followers - fake ones, though some contain the personal details of real Twitter users - to users who want to pad their social-media statistics.

Katy Perry, now the most-followed person on Twitter, had more than 109 million followers on Wednesday - a number that plunged to about 108 million on Thursday afternoon.

The social site had warned that users with larger follower counts will experience a significant drop it moved to delete invalidated accounts. On Wednesday, Twitter announced that they were performing a "purge", of sorts, which would get rid of frozen or suspicious accounts. "Twitter purge doing the most".

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Twitter made an announcement on Wednesday, as we also reported yesterday that Twitter is letting go of locked accounts and hence locked accounts will no longer be included in people's follower numbers. Mr Bieber, who has the second most followed account on the site, suffered the same fate, losing nearly 2.7m followers.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump lost about 100,000 of his 53.4 million followers and former President Barack Obama lost about 400,000 followers. However, for those with mega-followers, the impact will be greater although still only a small fraction of their total user lists.

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

"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", Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a blog post.

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