Social media platform Twitter has begun banning a large number of accounts from the website, specifically focusing on accounts that have previously been banned or have received suspensions.
Yesterday a number of Twitter users reported that their accounts were beginning to lose followers at a rapid pace. The banning seemed to apply to a multitude of accounts with little explanation as to why they were being suspended. Users took to the hashtag #TwitterPurge to voice their concerns over the issue:
A lot of you have probably noticed you’re losing followers at a rapid pace, don’t panic it’s just Twitter suspending/restricting accounts. If you’re reading this, you’re safe. (For now…) Hahahahahahahahaha! ὄ#ThursdayThoughts #TwitterPurge pic.twitter.com/QFIzQr392O
— Political Villain 🔥 (@ShawnMonroe19) August 16, 2018
— Robin Belzil Biundo (@RobinBiundo) August 16, 2018
Looks like about 150ish for me. I was expecting a ton more, and kept waiting for it to happen. pic.twitter.com/4XoacrB7W5
— Fall Time Lioning (@nbowa) August 16, 2018
The purge seems to have begun shortly after reports that Twitter would begin suspending and blocking certain accounts that had been previously banned or suspended from the site.
This week, we are suspending accounts for attempting to evade an account suspension. These accounts were previously suspended for abusive behavior or evading a previous suspension, and are not allowed to continue using Twitter.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 14, 2018
Twitter has cracked down on certain accounts on their platform, with millions of accounts judged to be bots or otherwise “low quality” being banned. Infowars host Alex Jones recently received a seven-day suspension from the platform for sharing a video in which he encouraged his followers to prepare their “battle rifles” to defend themselves from censorship.
In a recent interview, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that the website would be focusing on political issues in the coming year. “Election integrity is our first priority this year,” Dorsey said in the interview. He further elaborated that the company was working on software to combat bot accounts on the platform: “We need to make sure that we are considering not just policy changes, but also product changes to help alleviate some of these concerns,” he said.
Dorsey further reiterated that the company was working towards improving “conversational health” on the platform and that Dorsey is aware that the platform has had negative effects on users in the past. “Three years ago, we prioritized health and safety as our number one priority in the company,” he said. “And we’re coming from 10 years of not doing that. So there is a lot of debt that we have to pay down. There is a lot of infrastructures that we have to change. There’s a lot of policy that we have to look critically at.”
Update — This article previously stated that the account of Robin Williams had been banned, but what was actually banned is a bot that took over his account.