Following President Donald Trump’s permanent suspension from Twitter on Friday night, the social media platform conducted what they called a routine audit of users to ensure real people were behind the “unverified” accounts on their site. In doing so, follower numbers fluctuated, leading to cries of censorship from conservatives.
Twitter attempted to respond to fears on Friday night, stating they “regularly challenge accounts to confirm details like email and phone number. Until that info is confirmed, these accounts aren’t included in follower counts.”
To clear up confusion about fluctuations in follower counts:
In order to prevent spam, we regularly challenge accounts to confirm details like email and phone number. Until that info is confirmed, these accounts aren’t included in follower counts. https://t.co/8BYcBCmxxA
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) January 9, 2021
Trump allies apparently didn’t get the message that follower counts fluctuate on Twitter.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Saturday, “This is how you create an echo chamber,” with a photo attached claiming he had lost 19.5K followers. The screenshot showed a drop in the follower count of other Republicans, including Tom Cotton and Kevin McCarthy.
This is how you create an echo chamber… pic.twitter.com/aPDA37qKS0
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) January 9, 2021
Former Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed to have lost 50k followers. She blamed “big tech” for “censoring” Americans.
I’ve lost 50k+ followers this week. The radical left and their big tech allies cannot marginalize, censor, or silence the American people. This is not China, this is United States of America, and we are a free country. https://t.co/Xupd0N1hea
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) January 9, 2021
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), even after Twitter noted they regularly take measures to limit invalid users, continued to document his declining follower count.
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 10, 2021
I wish I could lose weight as fast as I’m losing followers during this Twitter purge….
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) January 9, 2021
Other conservative voices also expressed frustration over “a heck of haircut” to their follower count on Twitter.
Dang @jack this is a heck of haircut of followers I’m getting. Lots of folks complaining as the purge seems vindictive and politically motivated.
I don’t mind you jettisoning bots but they have free reign. Can you give me something I can share with others expressing concern?
— Charles V Payne (@cvpayne) January 8, 2021
7K+ for me in two days… pic.twitter.com/uwkrvaJJTf
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) January 8, 2021
So I have actually lost 30k followers in 4 hours? Is that even possible? Parler iced? Is this to please @JoeBiden? Does he know what Twitter is ?
— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) January 9, 2021
I’ve lost 10,000 followers from Twitter’s purge today.
Follow me on @parler_app at JennaEllisEsq
— Jenna Ellis (@JennaEllisEsq) January 8, 2021
okay, this IS my last tweet:
CNN tries to get FNC banned.
Apple targets Parler.
Publishers dump writers.
music labels drop artists.
twitter bans/removes thousands.
tech companies join hands.
this redefines who the true rebels are.
if you like the purge, you’re the servant.
— GregGutfeld (@greggutfeld) January 9, 2021
twitter purge is still ongoing
just lost 200 followers in the last five min
— Michael Malice (@michaelmalice) January 9, 2021
Notably, there was also an extensive purge of far-right QAnon-associated Twitter accounts of Friday, which impacted Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s following.
Twitter’s QAnon purge is doing a number on Rudy’s following pic.twitter.com/A9yf7le52o
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) January 8, 2021
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