The Twitter purge has come and many influential politicians have lost thousands of followers — some more than others.
Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced Wednesday the social media platform would begin removing certain suspicious accounts Thursday in order to more accurately reflect users’ follower counts.
“This week we’ll be removing locked Twitter accounts (locked when we detect suspicious changes in behavior) from follower counts across profiles globally. The number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down,” Dorsey, who lost more than 200,000 followers himself, wrote on Twitter.
The accounts Twitter will remove and has removed are different than “bot,” or spam, accounts. (RELATED: Twitter Says It’s Suspending 1 Million Accounts A Day, Prioritizing Cleansing Over Growth)
“In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but we cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it,” wrote Twitter’s Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety Lead, Vijaya Gadde. “Spam accounts (sometimes referred to as bots) typically exhibit spammy behavior from the beginning, are increasingly predictable by our systems, and can be automatically shut down with our technology.”
As Twitter users gain more followers, fake accounts become more attracted to them. So the more followers a user has, the more bots are likely to follow him or her. Accounts like former President Barack Obama, who has a massive 100 million-plus following on Twitter, are likely to lose more than others. Other than this, there weren’t any discernible patterns between political parties or anything that would otherwise imply bias on Twitter’s part.
Here’s how the Twitter purge affected some of the most influential politicians from the right and the left, according to Social Blade — which monitors how many followers users have on social media — so far.
- President Donald Trump lost more than 326,000 followers on his more popular and active personal account and an additional 90,000 on the @POTUS account.
- Sen. John McCain lost more than 213,000.
- Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich lost more than 150,000.
- Mitt Romney lost more than 75,000.
- Sarah Palin lost more than 61,000.
- Florida Sen. Marco Rubio lost more than 41,000.
- Vice President Mike Pence lost more than 25,000 followers on the official vice president account, about 7,500 on his personal account and more than 2,000 on his Indiana gubernatorial account.
- Former Speaker of the House John Boehner lost more than 32,000.
- House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin lost about 28,000.
- Texas Sen. Ted Cruz lost more than 26,000.
- Karl Rove lost more than 26,000.
- Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul lost more than 23,000 — his other less popular account, @Dr.RandPaul, lost about 1,300.
- The official GOP account lost about 15,000.
- The Senate GOP account lost about 8,000.
- The House Republicans’ account lost about 5,500.
- Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley lost about 3,000.
- Former President Barack Obama lost a staggering 2.3 million followers.
- Sen. Cory Booker lost more than 140,000 on his personal account and none at all on his much smaller senate account.
- 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost more than 134,00.
- Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders lost more than 30,704 on his senate account and another 51,000 on his personal account.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden lost more than 27,000.
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren lost about 15,000 and 6,000 on her accounts.
- The Democrat’s account lost about 14,000.
- New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand lost about 8,500.
- New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer lost more than 8,000 — Schumer’s personal account didn’t lose any.
- Kamala Harris lost more than 6,000.
- California Senator Diane Feinstein lost more than 6,000.
- The House Democrats’ account lost just over 6,000.
- The Senate Democrats’ account lost just over 5,000.
- Virginia Sen. and 2016 former vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine lost more than 5,000.
- California Rep. Maxine Waters’ personal account didn’t lose any while her House account lost just over 1,000.
These statistics reflect the numbers at the time of publication and are subject to change. To see the most up-to-date numbers, go to SocialBlade.com.
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