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Twitter purge hits Uhuru Kenyatta, Ruto and bloggers Nyakundi, Dela

13 July 2018, 02:39 | Devin Moran

Getty Images

Getty Images

By 5 p.m., President Trump's @realDonaldTrump account had lost about 300,000 followers, bringing his total down to a still impressive 53.1 million.

Twitter is no longer counting as followers any accounts that have been locked because of suspected fraud, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey posted on Thursday.

Twitter argued that the recent move was aimed at building users' confidence and reflected the fact that follower counts are "a visible feature" on the platform.

By cracking down on fake accounts, Twitter hopes to restore faith in the controversy-ridden platform where influence-from entertainment to politics-can be inflated by automated or fake followers, the New York Times reports.

Uhuru, who is the most followed Kenyan on Twitter, had 3,234,935 followers as of July 12 but lost 16,071 of them in the purge.




Twitter said owners of accounts will not be able to log in unless they validate the accounts and reset passwords. Twitter initially warned that its culling of fake followers would affect about 6% of all follows, so Perry actually may have got off lightly. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama lost about 2 million, leaving him with 101 million overall. Follower counts for Justin Bieber fell 1.3%, Rihanna was down 0.6%, Ellen DeGeneres dropped 2.5%, Taylor Swift fell 2.7%, and Lady Gaga declined 1.9%.

On Wednesday, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's head of legal, policy, trust and safety, said the company would begin removing "locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation", Twitter reiterated.

He said average Twitter users will not see such a dramatic difference in their follower counts, with most people losing only about four followers or fewer.

Twitter said that a lot of people would see a change of about 4 followers or fewer but those people with larger follower accounts would experience a more significant drop.



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