According to the New York Times, Twitter will begin removing millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers on Thursday. Apparently, users have “inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts, buying the appearance of social influence to bolster their political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.” One has to wonder: After Thursday, will Trump will have any followers left?
Twitter, along with other social media platforms, was used as a tool for Russian influence during the 2016 election, when tens of thousands of accounts were used to spread propaganda and disinformation.
Twitter has also been sharply criticized for allowing abuse and hate speech to flourish on its platform. It is not uncommon for Trump to spew threats via Twitter, along with spreading misinformation. The examples are too numerous to cite. In response, Change.org launched a petition to cancel Trump’s Twitter account and currently has almost 15,000 signatures.
The move to get rid of suspicious accounts signals a major effort to restore trust on the popular but embattled social media platform. Twitter did not release exact numbers of affected users, but said it would eliminate tens of millions of questionable accounts from users’ followers. The move is estimated to reduce the total combined follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent, according to the Times. In January 2017, it was reported that Trump had 20 million followers, and it was noted that this number, did in fact, include bots. Will Trump’s numbers decrease by 1.2 million or more after Thursday?