Why Brands Should Be Glad Twitter Continues to Clear Out Junk Accounts

Don’t let lockouts alarm you—having the “right” followers is more valuable than collecting tons of fake ones.
Twitter Lockout Doodle

Have you been watching your Twitter follower count drop over the past several months? You’re not the only one.

You might have seen #TwitterLockout trending this summer too and felt everyone holding their collective breath for some sort of massive fallout.

As news of Twitter’s efforts to clean out bogus followers became public and the purges continued into the winter, the Manifest audience engagement team closely monitored Twitter profiles that we manage on behalf of brands.

The good news: We saw a less than 0.4 percent decline in follower counts.

“The removal of locked accounts will give you a better ratio of engaged to unengaged users in your Twitter following.”

Why are these lockouts important? There are a couple of reasons:

  • Brands and their stakeholders have a soft spot for vanity metrics such as follower counts. The efforts to remove dubious and dormant accounts was Twitter’s acknowledgement that the metric was flawed in its use and to make the number as transparent as possible.
  • The effect of the lockouts lets a brand know if its approach to building communities through organic and paid media support focuses on quality, not quantity. (So far, our data shows that our clients’ accounts are holding steady.)

How Does an Account Become Locked?

Twitter evaluates profiles based on sudden behavior changes in a profile, such as large volumes of unsolicited replies or mentions, tweets that use misleading links, sudden blocks by large numbers of other profiles or dormancy for an extended period.

Admittedly, it can be frustrating to see your following shrink, but these transparent changes are great because algorithms tend to reward users with truly engaged audiences.

The removal of locked accounts will give you a better ratio of engaged to unengaged users in your Twitter following and that will lead to higher engagement rates overall.

Profiles That Saw Big Initial Dips When Twitter Began Purging Fake Accounts
  • Twitter at 12.26%
  • Oprah at 3.28%
  • The Kardashians (collectively) at 2.92%
  • Barack Obama at 2.88%
  • YouTube at 2.76%
  • Google at 2.42%
  • The White House at 2.30%
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