Twitter to close fake, suspicious accounts

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Twitter users will see a drop in their follower counts on Thursday as the company clamps down on “problematic” and “fake’’ accounts, The New York Times is reporting.

Twitter will begin removing tens of millions of suspicious accounts from users’ followers signaling a major new effort to restore trust on the popular platform.

The affected accounts will include those that have been hijacked to spread abuse, misinformation and propaganda.

The online news and social networking service says users have inflated their followers on Twitter or other services with automated or fake accounts.

Also mentioned was buying the appearance of social influence to bolster political activism, business endeavors or entertainment careers.

Twitter will also remove all locked accounts from people’s follower numbers. Most people will see a change of “four followers or fewer” but accounts with larger followings will experience a “more significant drop”, the company said.

Twitter locks accounts when it detects “sudden changes in account behaviour” – for example, if the account tweets a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions; if the account posts misleading links; or if a large number of other accounts block the account in question.

Accounts can also be locked if the platform finds that someone’s login credentials have been leaked elsewhere, for example through a data breach at another service.
In both cases, Twitter contacts the owners of the account and asks them to validate the account and reset their password. If the owner doesn’t comply, the account remains locked.

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