With social media platforms becoming more and more influential, in terms of company sentiment, product discovery, news content, etc., so too is the expectation that the platform providers will protect users from fake accounts and spam, which, as we saw in the 2016 US Presidential Election, can have a major impact on swaying public opinion.
As a result, every social network has been working to improve its capacity for detection and removal of fake accounts or those that misrepresent their intentions. That's resulted in a raft of major 'purges' which have seen many high profile users, in particular, suffer declines in their follower counts.
- In 2014, Instagram removed millions of spam bot accounts, which saw celebrities like Justin Bieber and Akon lose millions of followers overnight
- In 2017, Facebook cleaned out a heap of fake profiles, which resulted in many Pages losing a significant percentage of their overall Likes
- In 2018, Twitter removed millions of bot accounts, again seeing celebrities like Ashton Kutcher suffer major follower losses
These are in addition to the ongoing efforts by each platform to detect and remove fakes at the inception stage, and expanded pushes to cut politically motivated actors. It's become a major area of concern - to provide some additional context on the size of such efforts, the team from Digital Information World have put together this listing of the most significant purges in recent times.
Spam bots and fake profiles remain a problem, but as you can see here, major efforts are underway to address such.
A version of this post was first published on the Digital Information World blog.