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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

Biden signs racial equity executive orders

Joe Biden prays at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 3, 2020, in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake. PHOTO: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed executive orders on housing and ending the Justice Department's use of private prisons as part of what the White House is calling his “racial equity agenda.”

The big picture: Biden needs the support of Congress to push through police reform or new voting rights legislation. The executive orders serve as his down payment to immediately address systemic racism while he focuses on the pandemic.

Senate confirms Antony Blinken as secretary of state

Antony Blinken. Photo: Alex Edelman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 78-22 on Tuesday to confirm Antony Blinken as secretary of state.

Why it matters: Blinken, a longtime adviser to President Biden, will lead the administration's diplomatic efforts to re-engage with the world after four years of former President Trump's "America first" policy.

1 hour ago - World

Former Google CEO and others call for U.S.-China tech "bifurcation"

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A new set of proposals by a group of influential D.C. insiders and tech industry practitioners calling for a degree of "bifurcation" in the U.S. and Chinese tech sectors is circulating in the Biden administration. Axios has obtained a copy.

Why it matters: The idea of "decoupling" certain sectors of the U.S. and Chinese economies felt radical three years ago, when Trump's trade war brought the term into common parlance. But now the strategy has growing bipartisan and even industry support.