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February, 09, 2014 in Moscow. Russia. Social Media on Tablet PC Computer Technology concept. Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service.

No matter what industry your business is in, your social media presence is essential and portrays an overview of your brand for customers and potential customers. The growth of your audience is an important factor for any business and is always one that you want to see an increase month on month, however, with Twitter’s recent update, will you see this happen?

As a small business owner, you’ll be aware of the regular changes that occur on all social media platforms to ensure that the user experience is of the highest quality and the changes prevent them becoming outdated as trends change on a monthly basis. Twitter has been making several changes to their platform over the past several months to ensure users have a better experience when using the platform. It comes to no surprise that they have made another one, but this recent change is affecting all users existing follower count.

Twitter’s recent change to their platform

Twitter users will have seen a drop in their follower counts as Twitter make their first attempt to clamp down on fake user accounts that are causing problems across the platform. These fake accounts include those that have been hijacked to spread abuse, fake news, misinformation and propaganda across the social network.

How does this affect you?

Twitter has decided to remove all these locked accounts from people’s follower numbers. Most users may only see four or five fewer followers but accounts with much larger followings including celebrities will experience a more drastic change to their follower numbers. Twitter announced that users should expect to see a 6% drop of their follower numbers but a lot of celebrities/businesses with a more substantial following, are seeing a much more significant percentage. With follower counts being a visual feature on Twitter’s platform, it’s vital that everyone has confidence and faith that the numbers displayed are an accurate reflection and not fake.

How does Twitter know which accounts need to remove?

The company monitors user activity and detects sudden changes in an accounts behaviour. This behaviour includes large amount of tweets, unsolicited replies or mentions, publishing misleading links or if the account has been reported from other active users. In addition to this, Twitter also checks that these fake accounts are not in data breach with another service by leaking their password and login details elsewhere. At this moment in time, Twitter’s policy is to lock any account it believes has unusual behaviour.

Twitter has confirmed that in most cases, these accounts were created by real people, but they cannot prove that the original person who first created the account still has control and access to it. Therefore, action needed to be taken to prevent them from becoming more apparent. As a result of this, these accounts make it harder for Twitter to identify as they do not publish spammy content from the beginning but it is something that develops gradually over time as they become hijacked.

While this specific change to the platform should only affect follower levels, Twitter says that they have plans to cover all aspects of the social network that will look into tweets, retweets and likes as they press on further to make their platform ‘fake account’ free.

Why are they making the change now?

Twitter wants to take immediate action before it is too late. Their attempt of cleaning up their social media platform and overall, making it ‘healthier’, should be welcomed by everyone as it creates a better digital space for users, creators and advertisers who can interact with real people and not fake accounts and bots. Doing so should build trust and develop a more ‘healthy and true’ conversation across the platform between all users.

The company have made this change to their platform following their recent change in May, where they attempted to prevent mob harassment by changing their ranking algorithm. This change resulted in accounts causing problems or misleading information were pushed further down the list of search results so that they didn’t have such a dominant impact on the newsfeed. Twitter has reported that they removed 214% more spam accounts YoY and suspended more than 142,000 apps.

Their most recent change in June was an attempt to clean up spam and other malicious activity on the platform where they launched their Ad Transparency Center. This centre shows all ads in the past seven days as part of their initiative of being more transparent. Their Ad Transparency Centre shows billing information, ad spend and targeting data.

Facebook is not far behind either! They’re tackling the fight against abuse on their platform as they have recently detailed in their new rules around political ads and rolled out a very similar searchable database of ad campaigns, specifically focusing on those of a political nature.

Why is this good news for businesses?

The recent update may have come as a bit of a surprise for many, but for small businesses, it is a vast improvement! So what does this mean? This update reassures you that those users who are following your Twitter profile are genuine, they’re human, and they have a real interest in your business and brand. This gives you more opportunity to interact and engage with your audience and gain better ROI from your social media advertising campaigns as they will not be reaching or targeting inactive/fake users.

Do you require assistance with your Social Media Marketing? For more information and advice, contact our friendly, knowledgeable and professional Social Media team today! Call us on the phone number 01754 252 152, fill out our online form submission or visit our Social Media Management page on our website!

Harriet Hanson
Harriet Hanson
Hi, I'm Harriet! I am a Digital Marketing Specialist at DPOM and work within the social media department. I love everything digital and welcome the opportunities it can bring to any business. I have a passion for horses and spend my spare time horse riding.
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