Former President Barack Obama lost more than 2 million Twitter followers on Thursday as the social-networking platform launched a new crackdown on fake accounts, according to a preliminary analysis from The Daily Beast.
At press time, the Twitter purge had cost Obama 2,346,119 followers, or more than two percent of his audience on the site. With more than 101 million remaining followers, Obama remains the third most-followed person on the site, a few million followers behind singers Katy Perry and Justin Bieber.
Other major political accounts were also hit by the purge, with President Trump losing 325,038 followers so far, a 0.7-percent decrease. As the first day of the Twitter purge wrapped up, Trump had more than 53 million followers left.
Twitter announced Wednesday that it would start deleting accounts that had been locked on suspicion of being hacked or used for spam. The accounts were already unable to post to the site, but after they’re deleted they’ll no longer appear in follower accounts, which are seen as indicative of influence or prestige on Twitter.
Twitter aimed to change that starting Thursday, deleting tens of millions of locked accounts. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was himself affected by the change, tweeting that he had lost 200,000 followers in the purge.
—Will Sommer & Kevin Poulsen.