Twitter Cuts Millions of Followers to Combat Fake Accounts

In an effort to restore trust in its social platform, Twitter plans to “begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers” today, reports The New York Times. “Many users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts, buying the appearance of social influence to bolster their political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.” Twitter has acknowledged that easily creating or buying fake followers has negatively affected the legitimacy of the platform.

“We think it’s a really important and meaningful metric, and we want people to have confidence that these are engaged users that are following other accounts,” said Del Harvey, Twitter VP for trust and safety.

Fake followers are also having a negative impact on brand marketing, advertisers and social influencers.

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“An investigation by The New York Times in January demonstrated that just one small Florida company sold fake followers and other social media engagement to hundreds of thousands of users around the world, including politicians, models, actors and authors,” notes NYT. “The revelations prompted investigations in at least two states and calls in Congress for intervention by the Federal Trade Commission.”

Twitter’s move is expected to reduce the total follower numbers by approximately 6 percent.