Facebook And Twitter Are Actively Removing Millions Of Fake Accounts
The Purge Of Fake Twitter Followers and Facebook Friends Has Begun
You’ve probably seen this before – someone who follows or sends you’re a friend request only to see that this “person” has followed thousands of other people but don’t seem to have any followers themselves. Well, both Facebook and Twitter are going head to head to rid the world of these fake accounts. You might have noticed that you’ve lost a few followers in the past coupe of weeks. Well, you’re not the only one. Accounts like The New York Times, Barack Obama and Jack Dorsey have lost hundreds of thousands of followers since the purge began.
Vijaya Gadde, part of Twitter's general counsel made a blog post last Wednesday, titled “Confidence in follower counts” that outlined that while most of the accounts targeted aren't bots, they are most likely set up by real people. However, she goes on to say that “we cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access".
Twitter ask the accounts in questions to either change their password or solve a captcha and the accounts that don’t get locked. After a month, they stop counting towards Twitter’s total user number. It’s quite interesting how Twitter determines when there’s something not right. According to Gadde, the trigger is usually a sudden change in an account's behavior. It might start tweeting "a large volume of unsolicited replies or mentions" or "misleading links". Similar behavior in a new account can also set off alarms. Algorithms identify the account as possible spam and will challenge its owner, which can include asking to confirm a phone number. The number of accounts challenged has risen from 2.5 million last September to 10 million in May.
Facebook and Twitter have more or less started a PR war against each other to see who can kill off the most fake accounts. Facebook announced last May that they removed more than half a billion fake accounts and millions of pieces of violent or obscene content during the first three months of 2018. They also pledged to be more transparent while shielding its CEO Mark Zuckerberg from public questioning about the company’s business practices.
While it’s good to know that both companies are making strides to clean up the platforms from fake and potentially hazardous accounts, it begs the question of how many active users are real and not fake spambots. If you’ve lost any large lumps of followers in the past couple of weeks, then be sure to let us know in the comments section below. And don’t forget to use the form below to sign up for our newsletter to get all of the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and other entertaining reads.