×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Big Twitter Accounts See Follower Numbers Drop After Fake-User Purge

UPDATED: As expected, Twitter’s elimination of “locked” users accounts from public follower counts has resulted in a decline for many users — including millions lost for the biggest celebs on the platform, like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Barack Obama, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.

One of the biggest losers seems to have been Twitter’s own primary account (@Twitter), which shed 7.5 million fake accounts to drop 12% Thursday, from 62.85 million earlier in the morning to 55.35 million as of 2:45 p.m. ET. By Friday morning, that was down to 55.1 million.

By comparison, the decline of other large accounts has been smaller. The 100 most-followed Twitter accounts saw an average drop in followers of 2% on Thursday, according to social-analytics firm Keyhole, with a median decline of 734,000 followers.

Singer Katy Perry, who has the most-followed account on Twitter, lost 2.8 million followers through Friday at 8 a.m. ET, dropping 2.6% to 106.8 million followers. Follower counts for Justin Bieber and Rihanna fell 2.5%, Ellen DeGeneres dropped 2.6%, Taylor Swift fell 2.7%, and Lady Gaga declined 3.2%.

Barack Obama’s (@barackobama) total followers shrank by 2.36 million, or 2.3%, to 101.3 million by Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump), possibly Twitter’s most controversial major user, saw his follower count drop by about 300,000, from 53.4 million to 53.1 million, on Thursday. (His account stood at 53.07 million as of Friday a.m.)

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s (@jack) follower count dropped by 226,000 (5.4%) to 3.99 million as of Friday.

For the record, followers of Variety‘s Twitter account (@Variety) declined 2.2%, from 2.15 million Thursday to 2.10 million early Friday.

On Wednesday, Twitter said it was making the change in order to boost the credibility of follower-count numbers and improve transparency. 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.

The majority of Twitter users will see a reduction of four followers or fewer, but those with larger follower counts will see a bigger drop, the company said. Twitter began culling locked accounts from follower figures Thursday, and as the process continues the numbers will likely decline further. All told, Twitter expects the number of followers to decline around 6% platform-wide by the time it’s completed the purge.

The public number of followers on Twitter is a measure of relative popularity on the service — and by cutting out bots and other bogus accounts from the totals, the company is trying to establish it as a more accurate reflection of how many actual humans follow a given account.

“This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a blog post.

Twitter says it locks accounts when it detects “sudden changes in account behavior,” like tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions — in other words, signs that it’s engaging in spam or bot-like activity.

No. of Twitter Followers for 10 Most-Followed Accounts

As of 7/12
11:30 a.m. ET
As of 7/12
2:45 p.m. ET
As of 7/13
8 a.m. ET
% change through Friday
Katy Perry (@katyperry) 109.61 million 108.11 million 106.80 million -2.6%
Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) 106.71 million 105.31 million 104.02 million -2.5%
Barack Obama (@BarackObama) 103.63 million 101.50 million 101.27 million -2.3%
Rihanna (@rihanna) 89.0 million 88.44 million 86.76 million -2.5%
Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) 85.57 million 83.27 million 83.24 million -2.7%
Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) 78.97 million 77.47 million 76.46 million -3.2%
Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) 78.09 million 76.10 million 76.06 million -2.6%
Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) 74.60 million 73.37 million 73.39 million -1.6%
YouTube (@YouTube) 72.39 million 70.39 million 70.37 million -2.8%
Twitter (@Twitter) 62.85 million 55.35 million 55.10 million -12.3%

More Digital

  • Verizon New Logo

    Verizon Media Laying Off 800 Employees, or 7% of Staff in AOL and Yahoo Group

    Verizon is cutting 7% of the employees in its media group, or around 800 staffers in the division that combined AOL and Yahoo. “This week, we will make changes that will impact around 7% of our global workforce across the organization, as well as certain brands and products,” Verizon Media Group CEO Guru Gowrappan wrote in [...]

  • cheddar

    Cheddar Now on All U.S. OTT Streaming Services, Preps Primetime Programming Block

    Video-news startup Cheddar is launching its live-streaming news networks on Sony’s PlayStation Vue, making it the first content provider to span all over-the-top subscription services in the U.S. The company, founded in 2016, operates two networks — the newly rebranded Cheddar Business, positioned as a CNBC-style financial and business network for millennials, and Cheddar News, [...]

  • Avi Saxena - Discovery

    Discovery Hires Amazon's Avi Saxena as CTO of Direct-to-Consumer Unit, Will Open Seattle Office

    Discovery hired Avi Saxena, former VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace, as chief technology officer of direct-to-consumer. Saxena reports to the guy who was his boss at Amazon: Peter Faricy, who was appointed CEO of Discovery’s Global Direct-to-Consumer division in August 2018 and who headed up the Amazon Marketplace third-party seller business. In the newly created [...]

  • Spaces Terminatro VR Experience Goes Live

    Comcast-Backed Spaces Launches San Jose Location With 'Terminator' VR Experience

    Comcast-backed virtual reality startup Spaces is getting ready to open its second California location in San Jose next month: The company has teamed up with Cinemark to open a new VR center at the Century 20 Oakridge and XD theatre in San Jose on February 8. The new Cinemark Spaces center will open with “Fight for [...]

  • Sean Hannity Reveals Broadband Plans for

    Sean Hannity Reveals His Plans for Fox News Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sean Hannity sometimes tells younger colleagues at Fox News Channel that he is “the bridge between two generations of Fox” because he has been part of its primetime lineup since 1996. Now he may serve a similar purpose for a third. Fox News will next week bring Hannity to the world of video-streaming, launching “Hannity [...]

  • Crackle - To Win it All

    Sony Crackle Nabs 'Rainbow Six Siege' Esports Documentary Streaming Rights

    Sony Crackle has secured exclusive streaming rights to Ubisoft’s esports documentary “To Win it All: The Road to The Six Invitational,” following three pro players of “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege” shooter as they head to the title’s biggest tournament of the year. The free streaming network is slated to bow the documentary Friday, Jan. [...]

  • Hulu With Live TV Full Channel

    Hulu Hikes Price of Live-TV Bundle to $45 Monthly, Drops VOD Plan With Ads to $6

    Hulu wants to drive more customers to its ad-supported streaming package — lowering the official price from $7.99 to $5.99 per month — while it’s trying to turn a profit on the live-TV bundle with a price hike. Starting next month, Hulu With Live TV will increase by $5 per month, rising from $39.99 to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content