Twitter will be cracking down on fake accounts Thursday by deleting millions of followers in a renewed effort to bring trust back to the social network. Twitter aims to rid the network of fake accounts users have purchased to inflate the appearance of social media influence.
From The New York Times:
Twitter’s decision will have an immediate impact: Beginning on Thursday, many users, including those who have bought fake followers and any others who are followed by suspicious accounts, will see their follower numbers fall. While Twitter declined to provide an exact number of affected users, the company said it would strip tens of millions of questionable accounts from users’ followers. The move would reduce the total combined follower count on Twitter by about 6 percent — a substantial drop.
Officials at Twitter acknowledged that easy access to fake followers, and the company’s slowness in responding to the problem, had devalued the influence accumulated by legitimate users, sowing suspicion around those who quickly attained a broad following.
“We don’t want to incentivize the purchase of followers and fake accounts to artificially inflate follower counts, because it’s not an accurate measure of someone’s influence on the platform or influence in the world,” said Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for trust and safety. “We think it’s a really important and meaningful metric, and we want people to have confidence that these are engaged users that are following other accounts.”
It will be interesting to see how this effects the social media marketing world. There are many shady companies around the world who make a fortune selling fake followers to people.
I was just writing about this earlier in a previous post. I made the stupid mistake of buying followers many years ago to try and inflate my influence. It was a dumb waste of money. Building your influence by actually contributing useful information and putting out great content is the only way to go.
Apparently, Twitter’s advertisers have been pressuring the company to do something about the black market for fake followers.
The market for fakes was also hurting Twitter with advertisers, which increasingly rely on social media “influencers” — mini-celebrities who promote brands and products to their followers — to reach customers. In recent months, advertising and marketing firms have put pressure on Twitter, YouTube and other platforms to help ensure that influencers have the reach they claim. Last month, the consumer goods giant Unilever, which spends billions of dollars a year on advertising, announced that it would no longer pay influencers who purchased followers and would prioritize spending advertising dollars on platforms that took steps to stamp out fraud.
The bottom line here is if you bought fake followers and get burned by this crackdown you should be happy. Those fake accounts were nothing but window dressing and were not doing a thing to move you forward. This is your wake-up call.
Forget about the shortcuts and the nonsense and do it the right way this time.