Twitter announced on Wednesday that this week it will no longer include ‘locked’ accounts in users’ follower numbers in an attempt to restore faith in follower counts.
In a blog post Twitter said that most people would see a drop of four followers or fewer, but that those with larger follower numbers will “experience a more significant drop.”
A spokesman told Business Insider the changes would impact tens of millions of accounts, representing around 6% of all follows.
For celebrity Twitter users with huge followings like Katy Perry (110 million), Barack Obama (104 million) and Donald Trump (53.4 million) this could mean a sizeable culling of their follower counts.
Twitter locks accounts if it detects sudden changes of behaviour, such as tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions, tweeting misleading links, or if a large number of accounts block the account after mentioning them. Once an account is locked, it cannot tweet, like or retweet and it does not see ads. This isn’t the same as deletion, and often Twitter will unlock an account after a set period of time or once it’s verified the account owner.
Twitter said locked accounts tend to be created by real people.
The company added that the crackdown will not affect its monthly active user counts. Founder Jack Dorsey tweeted about the change, adding the hashtag “health.” Dorsey and Twitter have been pushing a wider discussion about how to improve the health of Twitter, which has historically struggled to tackle abuse and harassment on its platform.
The company has also been trying to hone in on suspicious accounts over the past two months. Its share price has dropped more than 8% as a result, because investors fear the purge could hurt Twitter’s growth metrics.