The Washington Post reported last week that Twitter has suspended more than one million accounts a day in recent months, and the rate has more than doubled since October, when the company, under congressional pressure, revealed how Russians used fake accounts to manipulate the United States presidential election.
President Trump took a hit on his account as well.
Twitter is no longer counting as followers any accounts that have been locked because of suspected fraud, Chief Executive Jack Dorsey posted on Thursday. As a result, Twitter accounts with a large number of followers lost a significant amount of users, which, based on the estimates of social media data firm Keyhole, top 100 accounts have lost about 2 percent of their followers.
The change in follower counts doesn't affect the active user totals Twitter tracks and reports on a quarterly basis to investors, according to the company.
Celebrity accounts on Twitter have seen a big drop in numbers overnight, thanks to a rule change by the company. This is part of a broader effort to fight trolls, fake news, and disinformation on the platform.
Social media giant Twitter is on a major clean-up drive, deleting millions of fake accounts to combat social media fraud and "build trust in the website", in a move that could possibly become a headache for Indian politicians and celebrities.
- Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) July 12, 2018I've lost about 2000 followers in the "Great Twitter Purge" today.
On Wednesday, Twitter said it was making the change in order to boost the credibility of follower-count numbers and improve transparency.
Former US President Obama lost 2.5 million followers; Trump saw his follower count drop by roughly 400,000 and Kim Kardashian unloaded 1.7 million followers in the last day.
"In most cases, these accounts were created by real people, but we can not confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it", he wrote in a blog post describing the change.
The accounts are locked if Twitter detects unusual behaviour such as a burst of activity after months of dormancy.
Trump's institutional account "POTUS" gained 8,339 followers on Thursday and lost 90,386 followers on Friday.
Other popular accounts also lost a huge chunk, but not as much as Twitter.