Twitter Reportedly Purged 58 Million Accounts in Just Three Months

Illustration for article titled Twitter Reportedly Purged 58 Million Accounts in Just Three Months
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Twitter has pursued various efforts to make its platform a less nightmarish place and, in recent months, those measures have reportedly taken the form of a sustained mass purge. According to data obtained by the Associated Press, the social network suspended 58 million accounts in the last quarter of 2017.


Asked for comment, Twitter would not confirm the AP’s specific findings to Gizmodo, instead pointing to two company blog posts from this year, one detailing how it’s curbing bots and another noting why users might see drops in their follower counts.

While that’s a hell of a lot of accounts, Twitter purports that a majority of the accounts it suspends have been inactive for at least month, meaning they likely aren’t part of the monthly active users metric the company releases to the public. Still, the company has shown no signs of slowing down its massive expulsion. In May and June this year, the company suspended over 70 million users. That’s more than one million purged accounts per day. For a number of notable figures on the platform, the follower count drop was significant, amounting to millions.

Twitter’s swelling suspension rates follow revelations about the platform’s centrality to Russia’s massive troll campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign. The company points to the scrubbing of dormant and suspect accounts as part of a wider effort to curb misinformation and harassment on the platform. But a cursory review of Twitter shows that purging inactive and automated accounts may not be enough for users: many continue to urge the social network to enact more sweeping and effective policies.

While it’s certainly refreshing to see Twitter take active measures to combat problems on its platform, it has a long way to go if it wants to stop being such a hellish den of misinformation.



In my experience (and this is anecdotal, although it has happened to several accounts under my control) Twitter now suspends ALL new accounts, as a matter of course and a proactive step. The only way to get them unsuspended is to go through their lengthy and tardy appeal process and then register a mobile phone number with a working, paid-up plan to your Twitter account.

For example: my main raincoaster account was suspended June 18 “for 12 hours”, probably by automated software that detected a particular combination of words. I appealed, immediately. A couple of days ago I received their response that they had received my appeal. Almost a full month later.

Then of course I had to go through the SMS message procedure, which meant borrowing a phone, so that isn’t a useful security measure at all, is it?

Oh, and it seems if your account is inactive for a couple of weeks it’ll also be suspended. My sock keeps getting suspended, just for not saying anything - uh, I mean “not addiing value to Twitter.”