Jul 11, 2018

Twitter purges millions from user follower counts

Richard Drew / AP

Twitter says it's removing millions of locked Twitter accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. The company says each user should expect to lose four followers on average, and that the changes will mostly occur this week.

Why it matters: The move is the latest in a series of steps Twitter is taking to clean out fake accounts and bots from its platform, which they hope will reduce the spread fake news and misinformation.

"Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate."
— Twitter in a statement

How it happened: Twitter says it locked accounts over the years when it detected sudden changes in account behavior. (These locked accounts are different from accounts users have made private, indicated by a "lock" icon.)

  • In these situations, Twitter say it reaches out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, it keeps them locked out, with no ability to log in.
  • These are the accounts that will be removed.

The big picture: Twitter says these accounts are mostly not bots. Instead, they were created by real people — but Twitter can't confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it.

  • From a business perspective, Twitter says the removed accounts will not impact its monthly active user account. This is important because investors typically evaluate success of tech platforms by user growth.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,275,856 — Total deaths: 69,514 — Total recoveries: 262,999Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 337,638 — Total deaths: 9,647 — Total recoveries: 17,582Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment." The USDA confirms that a Bronx zoo tiger tested positive for coronavirus.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state is "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. World update: Queen Elizabeth II urges the British people to confront pandemic with "self-discipline" and "resolve" in rare televised address.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

World coronavirus updates: Fewer deaths in Italy and Spain, U.K. toll jumps

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Health officials in Italy and Spain are seeing a glimmer of hope, as both countries reported a decline in deaths from the novel coronavirus Sunday. But the death toll continues to surge in the United Kingdom, which now has the world's fourth highest number of fatalities from COVID-19.

The big picture: The virus has killed more than 69,000 people and infected 1.25 million others globally as of early Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 131,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 15,000). About half the planet's population is now on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 55 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday this upcoming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health