A recent announcement from Twitter stated that in a bid to keep Twitter accounts healthy and with accurate follower counts, they are in the process of removing certain fake and lapsed Twitter accounts.

“As part of our ongoing and global effort to build trust and encourage healthy conversation on Twitter, every part of the service matters. Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate.”

Accounts will see a fluctuation in their follower counts due to this change and one that will continue to be an ongoing process to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts.

What does it mean to have a ‘locked’ account?

If an account is seen to have sudden changes or unexplained account behaviour, the account may be locked with a notification sent to the owner in order to verify that they still have control of the account. Although this is not a new situation, the accounts in question have been left to remain open in the past, the difference from now on is that these accounts will now be closed, which will be reflected in profile followers count.

The sudden changes could include:

  • Tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions
  • Tweeting misleading links
  • If a large number of accounts block the account after mentioning them
  • If an email and password combination has been posted online (via hackers) and Twitter thinks the account is at risk

Although accounts may have been created by a human to start with, it’s possible that bots are now running the accounts and they have been turned into spamming machines – which reflects an untrue and inaccurate level of activity for the account.

An email will be sent to the owner of the accounts to request them to validate their details and reset their password. Twitter will close the spam accounts which will mean a decrease in followers for many. Depending on the number of followers, accounts may see a fluctuation in their following numbers.

Twitter currently has 336 million active users, however there are over 1.3 billion accounts, resulting in around 70 million of these being bot accounts being locked and shut down.

Set up of Twitter accounts

Twitter are now making the process of signing up for an account harder than previous efforts in the hope to deter spam accounts, with an email or mobile number being required in order to verify the account upon sign-up.

Protect your security on Twitter

There are steps you can take to protect your security on Twitter:

Enable a two-factor authentication by adding an extra layer of security for your Twitter account. Instead of only entering a password to log in, you’ll also enter a code which is sent to your mobile phone. This verification helps make sure that you, and only you, can access your account.

Review third party applications – you can review and revoke access for applications by visiting the Apps tab in your account settings on twitter.com. Third-party applications are applications built on the Twitter platform by external developers, and are not owned or operated by Twitter. When you connect a third-party application to your Twitter account, you are granting that application access to use your account.

Our thoughts

We feel that the removal of these accounts are a positive move by Twitter to encourage true reflections which is important as influencer marketing continues to rise. Accounts may go through a hard time now with the decrease in follower counts but moving forward it’s better knowing that the accounts which are left are real people with a desire to use Twitter as it was in intended to be used.

 

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