Twitter has begun rolling out its new policy of not including "locked" accounts in users' follower counts this week. The social media company announced their decision to remove locked accounts from follower counts in a blog post released on Wednesday, July 11. Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's Legal, Policy and Trust & Safety lead, explained that "Follower counts are a visible feature, and we want everyone to have confidence that the numbers are meaningful and accurate."
So, how does Twitter determine whether an account should be consider locked? Gadde revealed that "over the years, we’ve locked accounts when we detected sudden changes in account behavior. In these situations, we reach out to the owners of the accounts, and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, we keep them locked with no ability to log in."
Now that Twitter has determined which accounts need to be removed, they will start removing "these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. As a result, the number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down."
While the average Twitter user probably won't be affected by this new policy, many celebrities will see significant drops in their follower count. Time reported that Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and Justin Bieber were all heavily effected by the follower purge. Perry, the most followed person on Twitter, lost at least 1.5 million followers, leaving her with 107 million followers. Bieber and Swift each lost roughly 2 million, leaving them at 104 million and 83.2 million respectively. Rihanna, Ellen Degeneres, and Lady Gaga all lost 2 million followers, as well. Oprah lost about 1.4 million followers, while Barack Obama's count dipped by over 2 million.
Some celebs even took to Twitter to openly share how many followers they lost. Lilly Allen tweeted "lost half a million followers today lol," while Twitter creator Jack shared he lost 200,000 followers.
Sean Lowe from the seventeenth season of ABC's The Bachelor, perhaps had the best tweet of all, joking about being insecure of his new follower count. "I'm kinda worried [the bots] were the only ones liking my tweets and I'm about to discover my wife has been right all along and I'm not as funny as I think I am."
Sean still has 985,000 followers so I'm sure he'll be just fine.