accounts with legions of fishy followers are about to
take a hit. As part of its efforts to fight
disinformation, the company announced Wednesday that
locked accounts will soon stop being counted as
that boast high numbers of followers are often seen as
more credible. Twitter Inc.’s move is designed to chip
away at unearned credibility.
change is set to take effect Thursday. It will be
minimal for most users — the average user’s follower
count is expected to drop by only about four — but
accounts with lots of followers may see a more
significant change, Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal,
policy, and trust and safety lead, said in a blog post.
accounts are usually real people’s accounts that have
been hacked, Gadde’s post said. (By contrast, typical
bot accounts are created to be fake.) Twitter locks an
account when it appears to have been compromised.
media played a key role in Russia’s efforts to
influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election, with
Russia-linked accounts buying ads during the election
cycle and thousands of Russia-linked fake accounts
sharing fake news articles.
has been fighting the fake-account problem on other
fronts too. For example, it suspended more than 70
million accounts in May and June, the Washington Post
and fellow social media giant Facebook Inc. both have
beefed up efforts to fight disinformation and
manipulation since the 2016 election. This year,
Facebook altered its news feed to focus more on posts
from users’ friends than on news sites.