If you noticed a recent loss of twitter followers on your account, it is most likely because they initiated a recent purge of fake accounts.
They have been more actively policing content and qualifying accounts just as we have seen on facebook and instagram.
“Social media is a virtual world that is filled with half bots, half real people,” said Rami Essaid, the founder of Distil Networks, a cybersecurity company that specializes in eradicating bot networks. “You can’t take any tweet at face value. And not everything is what it seems.”
“You see a higher follower count, or a higher retweet count, and you assume this person is important, or this tweet was well received,” said Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, a company that makes search engine optimization software. “As a result, you might be more likely to amplify it, to share it or to follow that person.”
Purchased followings and masked followers have been deleted from profiles and in some cases the purchasing profile has been deleted as well.
Scam profiles can be difficult to spot as some look authentic but will typically be a copy of an actual profile but with 1 letter off or an underscore used to mask the fake username. Then of coarse there is the no profile pictures, and jumbled letters, numbers and word fragments instead of name profiles.
A typical Story:
(New York Times)
While some said they believed Devumi and companies promising followers for cash was supplying real potential fans or customers, others acknowledged that they knew or suspected they were getting fake accounts. Several said they regretted their purchases.
“It’s fraud,” said James Cracknell, a British rower and Olympic gold medalist who bought 50,000 followers from Devumi. “People who judge by how many likes or how many followers, it’s not a healthy thing.”
Ms. Ireland has over a million followers on Twitter, which she often uses to promote companies with whom she has endorsement deals. The Wisconsin-based American Family Insurance, for example, said that the former model was one of its most influential Twitter “brand ambassadors,” celebrities who are paid to help promote products.
But in January last year, Ms. Ireland had only about 160,000 followers. The next month, an employee at the branding agency she owns, Sterling/Winters, spent about $2,000 for 300,000 more followers, according to Devumi records. The employee later made more purchases, he acknowledged in an interview. Much of Ms. Ireland’s Twitter following appears to consist of bots, a Times analysis found.
A spokeswoman said that the employee had acted without Ms. Ireland’s authorization and had been suspended after The Times asked about the purchases. “I’m sure he thought he was fulfilling his duties, but it’s not something he should have done,” said the spokeswoman, Rona Menashe.
Is Twitter Really Censoring Free Speech? via @forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/kalevleetaru/2018/01/12/is-twitter-really-censoring-free-speech/#49a090fe65f5
Twitter says Russian linked bots retweeted trump 470,000 times: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-26/twitter-says-russian-linked-bots-retweeted-trump-470-000-times
New York’s chief prosecutor says the state is opening an investigation into a firm that allegedly sold millions of fake followers to social media users. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42853067