Twitter continues to push ahead with its efforts to clean up the platform, announcing that more account removals are coming this week, which may, again, see follower numbers decline.
This week, we are suspending accounts for attempting to evade an account suspension. These accounts were previously suspended for abusive behavior or evading a previous suspension, and are not allowed to continue using Twitter.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 14, 2018
How, exactly, one ‘evades’ suspension is not 100% clear, but as noted, the action is the next stage in Twitter’s push to clarify user numbers, which appears to have been boosted after brands started to raise questions about the validity of follower counts, particularly as they relate to influencer marketing.
The most prominent incident on this front came back in June, when Unilever, which owns several well-known brands (including Dove, Axe and Toni and Guy among many others) pledged to never again work with influencers who had been found to have bought followers. The company also vowed to prioritize ad spend on social media platforms which were taking action to stamp out fraud and increase transparency.
Since then, Twitter has been ramping up its account removal activity. Last month, Twitter removed ‘locked’ profiles from follower counts site-wide, which saw some users lose up to 70% of their total following.
And it hasn’t stopped there – Twitter has also been removing new accounts at an unprecedented rate as it works to block spammers and bots.
Twitter has been cleaning house. In the past 30 days we've detected 1.4 million new accounts. But in the same period, 2.9 million suspended/deleted accounts.— Followerwonk (@followerwonk) August 6, 2018
Twitter also highlighted such efforts in its latest performance report, showcasing the work they’re doing to address such issues.
Aside from fake followers inflating ‘influencer’ audience counts, Twitter bots have also reportedly been used to re-tweet specific political messages at huge scale, potentially influencing voter behavior – so while ensuring their audience figures are accurate to appease advertisers is one thing, Twitter's also likely working to get ahead of the next potential wave of investigations about political interference via social platforms.
It’s a positive step for the platform, though one which may have an impact on its overall user counts – which the market generally does not like. Still, given Twitter data is more widely available than Facebook audience info, Twitter insights are still used by many as a proxy for authority, and ensuring their accuracy can only help establish more trust in the network, and entice more ad investment.