You may have fewer followers on Twitter soon. Here's why

Locked accounts are getting purged.

Lori Grunin
Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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As part of its continuing efforts to purge the chaff from its social network, on Wednesday Twitter announced it would be removing locked accounts from Twitter users' follower counts. 

Locked accounts are those that Twitter has locked the owner out of, either temporarily or permanently, for reasons such as suspect behavior that indicates the account might have been compromised. So if some of your followers have been hacked or socially engineered, they won't count towards your following on Twitter.

In a blog post, Vijaya Gadde (‎@vijaya‎), Twitter's legal, policy and trust and safety lead, explained, "In most cases, these accounts were created by real people but we cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it." This idea is that this will boost "account credibility" since follower counts are public. 

"Most people will see a change of four followers or fewer," Gadde wrote.

A New York Times investigation in January found companies that make money by inflating the number of followers for celebrities, business executives and even one of Twitter's own board members. Twitter responded by purging millions of fake accounts. The company now reportedly purges a million accounts on average every day.

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Correction, 1:57 p.m. PT: An earlier version of this post stated that locked accounts would still be tracked in your monthly and daily active user metrics on Twitter. That was incorrect: Twitter says locked accounts are not counted in those metrics, and so this change won't impact them. The change will impact follower counts, not MAU or DAU.