President Trump likes to tout his massive Twitter following as a sign of his influence. But thanks to a big-time ongoing purge by Twitter of shady users, Trump’s following is going down, by a lot.
Other influencers, too—including former President Obama—are shedding substantial followers because of the purge. According to the Washington Post, Trump lost 100,000 of his 53.4 million followers, while Obama lost 400,000 of his 104 million. Overall, the Post writes, the purge will cost Twitter about 6% of its 336 million monthly active users. Last Week, the Post wrote that Twitter was closing down about a million accounts a day, and that it had shuttered 70 million in May and June.
The effort is Twitter’s latest to try to clean up its service in advance of this fall’s elections in the U.S.
The purged accounts have largely been frozen for some time, Twitter’s legal, policy and trust & safety lead, Vijaya Gadde, says in a blog post. “Over the years, we’ve locked accounts when we detected sudden changes in account behavior,” Gadde wrote. “In these situations, we reach out to the owners of the accounts, and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, we keep them locked with no ability to log in. This week, we’ll be removing these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. As a result, the number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down.”
Gadde also says that many normal Twitter users will see their follower counts drop, but not by much–four or fewer, in most cases.
The purged accounts are likely not fake, but rather can’t be confirmed as belonging to the person who originally registered them. That could happen for many different reasons, including because the accounts are acquired by someone else and used for spam or other unsavory purposes.