Twitter Follower Numbers to Drop as It Removed Locked Accounts - Wall Street Journal

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Twitter, which is slated to report second-quarter results July 27, last reported 336 million monthly active users.


Richard Drew/Associated Press


TWTR 0.27%

said it is subtracting some accounts it has flagged for suspicious activity from the follower numbers of its hundreds of millions of users, part of the social-media company’s efforts to clamp down on abusive activity.

Twitter is removing accounts that had been locked due to an unusual change in behavior such as the sudden sharing of misleading links, sensitive information and other types of problematic content. Removing the locked accounts will reduce follower counts by about 6% across the service, the company said.

But Twitter said the move won’t affect its numbers of monthly or daily active users, metrics closely watched on Wall Street as signals of engagement on the platform.

The company, which is slated to report second-quarter results July 27, last reported 336 million monthly active users.

Twitter’s share price fell nearly 9% on Monday after the Washington Post reported Twitter was accelerating efforts to crack down on spam accounts. The stock recovered after the social network’s finance chief

Ned Segal

in a tweet said most suspended accounts aren’t active, so they don’t show up in those metrics. Shares rose slightly Wednesday.

In a blog post Wednesday announcing the move, Twitter cautioned that the removal of some accounts down the road, part of its continual efforts to clean up conversation on the platform, could have an impact on active-user numbers.

Most people using Twitter will lose “four followers or fewer” as part of the moves this week, the company said, while celebrities and others with large numbers of followers “will experience a more significant drop.”

Following Twitter’s announcement, Unilever PLC marketing chief

Keith Weed

tweeted the company’s move against fake followers is a “great step forward.”

Twitter continues to face repeated challenges in dealing with suspicious activity. Russian trolls remained active on the social network well into 2018, posted politically divisive messages as recently as May, a Wall Street Journal analysis found.

Write to Sarah E. Needleman at