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Politicians, Bollywood stars lose followers as Twitter goes on a clean-up drive

Politicians, Bollywood stars lose followers as Twitter goes on a clean-up drive

Some of Twitter's most followed accounts have seen a big drop in followers after the social network removed millions of locked accounts.

While it can not be said for certain that the fluctuation in follower counts is attributable to the follower purge, CTVNews.ca's analysis of these accounts show there has been some considerable change among some of the country's most-followed politicians and political accounts.

Katy Perry, the most popular user on all of Twitter, saw about 3 million followers disappear, bringing her total down to 107 million.

A Twitter spokesperson told Newsweek the platform will see a drop in around six percent of followers in the coming days.

Other politicians who lost the followers are External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, Trinamool Congress leader and Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani.

Twitter took its "Will the real followers stand up?" show on the road Thursday, beginning a massive purge of fake Twitter accounts and bots.

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"We understand this may be hard for some, but we believe accuracy and transparency make Twitter a more trusted service for public conversation", Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's legal, policy, and trust and safety lead, wrote in a post. BJP chief Amit Shah also saw a drop of about 30,000 followers (11.3 million) since the drive started.

Twitter's own account wasn't immune either: It shed more than 12% of its followers, or about 7.8 million users.

Starting Thursday, Twitter has been locking fictitious accounts for bulk tweeting, posting large number of unsolicited replies, or sharing links with misleading information.

"Over the years, we've locked accounts when we detected sudden changes in account behavior", Gadde explained.

And while Obama lost more followers than Trump, he also started out with almost double the follow count.

The company said follower counts may continue to change more regularly as part of ongoing work to proactively identify and challenge problematic accounts. Shah Rukh Khan lost nearly 3.5 lakh followers (35.7 million) while Amitabh Bachchan registered an even bigger loss, at over 4 lakh (34.5 million).