Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) went into full-scale purge mode on February 20th, eliminating accounts that couldn’t prove they were operated by an actual human being. The result of the account lockout was a large number of Twitter users losing thousands of followers overnight, waking up on February 21st to a follower depletion.
The majority of those who experienced the loss in followers were conservative and far-right Twitter users, many of whom are now claiming to be victims of a targeted attack by Twitter for political purposes.
Twitter combats this stance, stating that it acted “without political bias.” Instead, the company insists it is simply cleaning up the site by enforcing its rules, that any account purged was one which violated the company’s terms of services in some way. According to Twitter, this ranged anywhere from showing “behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse.”
Any account that was targeted was done so as part of Twitter’s “ongoing work in safety,” said the company.
The company explained further:
“We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it. That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone.”
In response, those who lost followers started the #TwitterLockOut and #TwitterPurge hashtags.
Twitter, along with Facebook and other social media channels, has long been fighting against fake accounts, many of which have been linked to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and, most recently, flooding Twitter with gun-related hashtags after the Florida school shooting.
Featured image: Gizmodo