The recently renewed effort by Twitter to eliminate fake followers caused a sudden wave of consternation across the Twittersphere. Tweeps wondered why they had suddenly lost hundreds or thousands of followers. Who was hit most?
Lady Gaga got gazumped but Rupert came through with clean hands
Twiter announced in July 2018 that it was about to start removing accounts which it identified as suspicious, and those which it had already locked for behaviour breaching its terms of service. This was estimated to be “tens of millions” of accounts. Large users like Unilever welcomed Twitter’s crackdown – in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election – as necessary cleanup of the ever-increasing number of fake accounts across the social ecosystem.
The effect started to be felt last week, with some apparently alarming numbers filtering through in “end of week” reporting of owned media. Clients wanted to know what we’d done wrong, and for a moment or two we were perplexed – until we recalled Twitter’s warning of a couple of weeks ago.
Here’s how it panned out if you were on the wrong side of your agency or PR department buying you followers (below). Twitter identified 30,000 of @hollyransom‘s followers as fake and deleted them on July 11th – that’s 30% of her followers gone in an instant!
For others, the cut was less unkind. In fact, @RupertMurdoch showed a remarkable stability. This means that someone was seriously managing his Twitter account, or that Twitter has not yet had the gumption to take him on.
The latter is probably unlikely as it is apparent that even @realdonaldtrump was cleaned up, and lost about 300k of his followers in a one day purge on July 13th – but this was a small fraction of his 53 million followers.
Twitter wiped out 2.5 million @LadyGaga followers!
How did Lady Gaga fare? Not too badly. Well, a loss of around 2 1/2 million followers! But not too bad as a percentage – about a 3% loss.
Finally, Malcolm Turnbull our Prime Minister, and Andy Penn our most prolific AU CEO on Twitter, both fared well. They’ve been well served by the people managing their accounts. The former lost about 15,000 followers and Andy Penn lost a remarkably small 200 followers.
It’s a good thing that Twitter is improving their fake follower identification and closing down those spam accounts. All the more important that you are not tempted to buy followers in the future. And perhaps, next, Twitter could help LinkedIn do the same thing to clean out the tens of millions of fake Linkedin accounts?
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