Everyone knows that many accounts on Twitter are fake, but it is unclear just how many. To combat the problem, Twitter has been locking accounts that show a sudden change in behavior. Owners can validate these accounts simply by resetting their passwords, but many stay locked. Now, Twitter is taking this a step further by removing accounts that remain locked from follower counts.
What This Means for You
Twitter says that most users can expect to see a drop of no more than four followers, although for those with a large amount of followers the decrease may be more. Initially, this may feel like a hard hit, but you need to remember that follower count is little more than a vanity metric. It matters much more that followers are engaging with your tweets — and that is unlikely to change.
What Kinds of Accounts Are Locked?
Twitter considers a “sudden change in account behavior” as something like:
- Tweeting a large quantity of unsolicited replies or mentions
- Posting misleading links
- Being blocked by a significant number of accounts after a mention.
The platform also suspends accounts when email and password combinations are posted online.
Most of the time, real people created the locked accounts, but it is unclear if the person who opened the account is still using it. Few are spam accounts, as Twitter says that their system is already effective at noticing these. It shuts down accounts it considers spam automatically soon after the accounts are opened.
In the last couple months, Twitter has been locking more accounts than ever before. It suspended more than 70 million in May and June — and it hasn’t slowed down in July. Still, Twitter claims that this will have no impact on daily and monthly active users, as most of the accounts have been inactive for at least 30 days.
The Impact on Influencer Marketing
There is one group of users the removal of locked accounts could impact: influencers. When considering social media influencers for your brand, followers are an important metric. A significant drop in followers is an indicator that the user is less influential than it previously appeared. This could be a valuable insight, helping you make better decisions about the influencers you use. (For additional help, check out this article on how to find social media influencers).
Although the drop in follower count due to the removal of locked accounts may hurt your pride, this is far from bad news. The change will give you a better picture as to who is active on Twitter, which can only be beneficial to your marketing strategy.