The company’s current policy is to lock an account any time it detects unusual behavior, like tweeting out large numbers of unsolicited replies or mentions, sharing misleading links, or if an account was blocked by a large number of users if mentioned in its own tweets.
In order to unlock their account, the account holder has to validate the account and reset their password. If the account isn’t validated after being locked, the owner won’t be able to log in. As of this week, any locked accounts will be removed from follower counts.
According to Twitter, most users will notice a slight change in follower numbers. Most users will see as little as four or fewer followers removed from their follow list. Users and brands who have a larger follower count will probably see a larger drop.
“We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation,” writes Twitter’s head of legal, policy, and trust and safety teams, Vijaya Gadde on the Twitter blog.
This newest effort applies only to follower numbers. Twitter plans to cover all aspects of the platform, such as Tweets, Likes and Retweets.
“This specific update is focused on followers because it is one of the most visible features on our service and often associated with account credibility,” writes Gadde, who clarifies that once an account is locked, it can no longer Tweet, Like, or ReTweet, and it is not served ads.
Twitter said that this change won’t impact its monthly or daily active user metric because accounts that have been locked for more than a month are not included in MAU or DAU numbers.
“While today’s change doesn’t affect MAU or DAU, some accounts we remove from the service as part of our ongoing commitment to a healthy public conversation have the potential to impact publicly reported metrics,” writes Gadde.
Significant strides have been made by Twitter in order to clean up any malicious activity and spam on the platform this year. The company launched Ad Transparency Center, which is an archive of ads that have run on the platform that details like who paid for the ad, the campaign budget and targeting data. Twitter even modified how conversations play out based on users behavior and conduct versus the content they tweet, and updated its rules around political ads.
Last month, it was reported by Twitter that it had removed 214 percent more spam accounts year-over-year, as well as suspending over 142,000 apps for violating Twitter policies during Q1 of this year.