Micro-blogging site Twitter announced Wednesday that it was expanding its effort to fight abuse and spam on its platform by removing the accounts that have been locked on account of suspicious behaviour. Over the next week, Twitter said, the removal of these accounts could lead to follower counts of its users coming down.
The development follows Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp announcing a measures to counter the spread of rumours and unverified information, including letting only group administrators decide which members can post and labelling forwarded messages to distinguish between those forwarded from those created by the sender.
In a statement, Twitter explained that an account gets locked if the platform detects sudden changes in the profile’s behaviour, which could include tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions, tweeting misleading links, or if a large number of accounts block the account in question after mentioning them.
“In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but the platform cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it. Spam accounts typically exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning, are increasingly predictable by Twitter’s systems, and Twitter can use its technology to automatically shut them down,” Twitter’s legal, policy and trust & safety lead Vijaya Gadde wrote in a blog post.
On Tuesday, a study by digital strategy platform Twiplomacy pointed out that with 42 million followers on his personal account and 26 million followers on his institutional account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the third most followed world leader after US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.
“Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer; others with larger follower counts will experience a significant drop. We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation,” Gadde noted.
The Washington Post had reported last week that Twitter was suspending more than a million accounts every day, in an effort to curtail the flow of disinformation.