Twit­ter cor­rects mis­lead­ing fol­lower count again, blames bug

The Star Malaysia - - World -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Twit­ter Inc made an­other at­tempt to make users’ tal­lies of fol­low­ers more ac­cu­rate, sub­tract­ing mil­lions of sus­pi­cious fol­low­ers which had reap­peared on the so­cial me­dia ser­vice since a ma­jor purge in July.

Twit­ter is un­der pressure to tackle its prob­lem of fake users, which are a turn-off for in­vestors and ad­ver­tis­ers and have led to scru­tiny from US Congress.

The com­pany made Fri­day’s move with­out an an­nounce­ment. Pop star Katy Perry lost about 861,000 fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to so­cial mea­sure­ment firm So­cial Blade. Twit­ter’s own ac­count lost 2.4 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

In July, Twit­ter said it would stop count­ing ac­counts it “locked” as fol­low­ers, in an ef­fort to make its user data more ac­cu­rate. At least seven celebri­ties lost as many as two mil­lion fol­low­ers each.

By Oc­to­ber, how­ever, many of those ac­counts ap­peared to have been un­locked – which can hap­pen af­ter a pass­word re­set – and at least two dozen pop­u­lar users had gained back a third or so of the lost fol­low­ers, ac­cord­ing to data from Rus­sian ad fraud re­searcher So­cial Puncher. Those fol­low­ers dis­ap­peared once again on Fri­day.

Twit­ter said that it “dis­cov­ered a bug where some of th­ese ac­counts were briefly added back, which led to mis­lead­ing fol­lower counts” for “very few ac­counts”.

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