Twitter has just announced a major change in how it counts the followers of an account. According to the company, it is planning to remove previously ‘locked accounts’ from the “follower metric”. This means that ‘locked accounts’ will not be counted in the total number of followers for a user. The platform clarified that ‘locked accounts’ include the accounts that the platform had previously locked on suspicion of being spam most likely because of “sudden changes in account behavior”. This means that the total number of followers of a majority of users on the platform is likely to take a hit.
The company went on to detail the measures in a new post on its official blog. It pointed out that users should have confidence in the follower count of their and other users on the platform as they are “one of the most visible features” and “often associated with account credibility.” Twitter stated that users are likely to see changes in the follower count “more frequently” as the platform improves its work in identifying and challenging problematic accounts. It noted that “locked accounts” are different from spam or bots on the platform as “in most cases” these accounts were created by actual real people.
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However, the company is now not sure that if the person who created the original account is still in control of the account or has access to it. In contrast, spam accounts show “spammy behavior from the beginning” and “are increasingly predictable by our systems.” According to the company, in addition to sudden changes in the behavior of the account, there are times that Twitter blocks some accounts after password and email combinations of other services are posted online which may indicate to the company that the corresponding Twitter account may be at a risk. ‘Locked accounts’ are not able to tweet, like, or retweet or see ads on the platform.
Twitter added that this will not change how the platform functions or works and it will also not affect the total monthly active user or the daily active user metric. The reason for this is because ‘locked accounts’ that have not changed their password in more than a month are not included in these metrics. Some locked accounts may, however “have the potential to impact publicly reported metrics.” This comes right after it was revealed that the company has taken down about 70 million fake accounts.