As expected, Twitter’s elimination of “locked” users accounts from public follower counts has resulted in a decline for many users — including the biggest celebs on the platform, like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lady Gaga.
The biggest loser seems to have been Twitter’s own primary account (@Twitter), which shed 7.5 million fake accounts to drop 12% Thursday, from 62.85 million earlier in the morning to 55.35 million as of 2:45 p.m. ET. By comparison, the decline of other large accounts has been smaller.
Singer Katy Perry, who has the most-followed account on Twitter, lost 1.5 million followers, dropping 1.4% to 108.1 million followers. Follower counts for Justin Bieber fell 1.3%, Rihanna was down 0.6%, Ellen DeGeneres dropped 2.5%, Taylor Swift fell 2.7%, and Lady Gaga declined 1.9%.
Barack Obama‘s (@barackobama) total followers shrank by 2.1 million, or 2.1%, to 101.5 million.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump), possibly Twitter’s most controversial major user, saw his follower count drop by about 300,000, from 53.4 million to 53.1 million, on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Twitter said it was making the change in order to boost the credibility of follower-count numbers and improve transparency. The change in follower counts doesn’t affect the active user totals Twitter tracks and reports on a quarterly basis to investors, according to the company.
The majority of Twitter users will see a reduction of four followers or fewer, but those with larger follower counts will see a bigger drop, the company said. Twitter began culling locked accounts from follower figures Thursday, and as the process continues to the numbers could decline further.
“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,” Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a blog post.
Twitter locks accounts when it detects “sudden changes in account behavior,” like tweeting a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions — in other words, signs that it’s engaging in spam or bot-like activity.
No. of Twitter Followers for 10 Most-Followed Accounts
As of 12-7 11:30 a.m. ET As of 7/12 2:45 p.m. ET % change
Katy Perry — 109.61 million 108.11 million -1.4%
Justin Bieber – 106.71 million 105.31 million -1.3%
Barack Obama – 103.63 million 101.50 million -2.1%
Rihanna – 89.0 million 88.44 million -0.6%
Ellen DeGeneres – 78.09 million 76.10 million -2.5%
Taylor Swift – 85.57 million 83.27 million -2.7%
Lady Gaga – 78.97 million 77.47 million -1.9%
Cristiano Ronaldo – 74.60 million 73.37 million -1.6%
YouTube – 72.39 million 70.39 million -2.8%
Twitter – 62.85 million 55.35 million -11.9%