Twitter purge wipes out a big chunk of Trump, Obama followers — and Twitter’s own

SAN FRANCISCO — The Twitter purge has officially begun, and the most popular people on Twitter are a bit less popular than they used to be.

Twitter’s most famous user, President Trump, saw roughly 200,000 of his 53.4 million followers vanish. Barack Obama bid farewell to at least a couple million.

Most people likely saw a drop of four followers or fewer, according to Twitter. But the likes of Katy Perry experienced a far more dramatic decline. Perry, who had 110 million followers, now has 107 million followers.

Twitter’s own @twitter account shed millions of followers. Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was not immune. He says he lost 200,000 of his 4 million followers.

Twitter said Wednesday that it would no longer include Twitter accounts that it had frozen for suspicious or potentially fraudulent behavior in the totals of followers listed on people’s profiles. Someone’s follower count is a key measure of online popularity and influence.

The internet has experienced this kind of bloodbath before. In 2014, during the Instagram Rapture, the Facebook-owned company slashed deactivated spam accounts and other accounts that violated its guidelines. Distraught users begged the company to stop decimating follower counts as socially media savvy celebrities such as Justin Bieber mourned the loss of millions of followers. 

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