President Trump loses 300K followers in Twitter purge

You can watch @realDonaldTrump's follower count live.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
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President Trump now has around 53.1 million followers, according to his account page.

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President Donald Trump's yuge Twitter following has taken a whack.

Since Twitter started purging locked accounts on Thursday, the tweeter-in-chief has lost 300,000 followers. The president now has 53.1 million followers, according to his account page.

Social Blade, a social media platform user statistics website, is tracking the slide in real time. You can see it here.

The drop comes as Twitter follows through on its Wednesday statement that it's removing locked accounts from users' follower counts. The purge is part of an ongoing effort to clean up the social media platform after reports that some companies benefited by inflating their follower totals.

In January, The New York Times -- a newspaper that itself has been the subject of many Trump tweets -- reported that some companies profit by having more Twitter followers because popularity helps sway advertising audiences and reshape opinions. Twitter responded by purging millions of fake accounts.

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Twitter has been one of the president's key methods for reaching his supporters and presenting his policy ideas. In some ways, the president's prolific tweeting -- his messages appear at all hours of the day and night -- have redefined politics. He's also repeatedly used the social media platform to bash his adversaries, especially the media.

In May, a US district court found that Trump couldn't block Twitter users from following his account. Seven people sued the president for blocking them after they criticized or mocked him on Twitter, citing a violation of their First Amendment rights.

The president isn't the only high-profile tweeter to lose followers in the purge. Justin Bieber shed roughly 2.7 million followers; Rihanna dropped 605,000; Katy Perry lost 1.6 million; and Taylor Swift lost 2.3 million. Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama, also lost followers, seeing a fall of 1.6 million.

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