Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey lost more followers than most people have on Thursday afternoon after his company started to purge inactive accounts. Katy Perry, the most followed person on Twitter, lost at least 1.5 million followers, leaving her leaving her at 107 million followers, Variety reports.
Barack Obama's (@barackobama) total followers shrank by 2.1 million, or 2.1%, to 101.5 million.
By cracking down on fake accounts, Twitter hopes to restore faith in the controversy-ridden platform where influence-from entertainment to politics-can be inflated by automated or fake followers, the New York Times reports. Dorsey tweeted that he saw 200,000 of his own followers vanish.
Twitter says for an average user, the follower count is likely to drop by 4 but for those having over thousands of followers the effect can be quite significant as is the case with Modi. While it excludes spam accounts in reported user data, Twitter noted early this year that monthly active user numbers would be "negatively impacted" by efforts to expunge fake accounts.
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Also, the accounts that Twitter would be purging are locked accounts that the company "detected sudden changes in account behaviour", and the owners didn't validate their accounts.
Others taking big hits included Taylor Swift, at 2.7 percent; Ellen DeGeneres, 2.5 percent; Lady Gaga, 1.9 percent; Justin Bieber, 1.3 percent; and Rihanna, 0.6 percent.
However, Vijaya Gadde, from Twitter's trust and safety team made it clear that most of these accounts still have real people behind them.
In a statement, Twitter said most people will see a change of four followers or fewer and that larger follower counts will experience more significant drops.
President Uhuru Kenyatta retired to bed on Thursday night with more followers on Twitter than he woke up to on Friday.