New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s following on Twitter has declined by around 2,70,000 in just a matter of two days following a crackdown by the social media company against fake accounts. On 11 July, PM Modi’s Twitter account @narendramodi had 43.37 million followers but now it has fallen down to 43.1 million.
Even the official account of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) @pmoindia saw a drop of over 1 lakh followers. On 11 July, the follower count was 26.68 million and now the figure is 26.55 million.
What made 2,70,000 people unfollow PM Modi?
The drop in the follower count, however, has nothing to do with popularity of the Modi government. Twitter had announced two days ago that it is starting to remove some Twitter handles which were locked earlier for suspicious behaviour.
Twitter has been under increased public scrutiny over complaints of fake and automated Twitter profiles that are spreading fake news, spamming the micro-blogging site, abusing others or impersonating people.
For Twitter, anyone who tweets a large volume of unsolicited replies, unnecessarily tags a large number of people or tweets misleading links becomes a suspicious user. The social media company then locks such accounts.
It is these accounts which have been lying locked for a while that are now being removed. Globally, it is being estimated that such locked accounts run into several lakhs. And Modi’s Twitter profile is not the only victim in this crackdown.
Twitter says for an average user, the follower count is likely to drop by 4 but for those having over thousands of followers the effect can be quite significant as is the case with Modi.
Who else is affected?
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who has the second largest Twitter following in India, suffered a loss of about 4 lakh followers. On 11 July, he had 34.89 million followers but the number dropped to 34.47 million in just 24 hours.
Actor Deepika Padukone lost over 2.8 lakh followers, Aamir Khan 3 lakh, Hrithik Roshan 2.55 lakh, cricketer Virat Kohli 1.25 lakh and Sachin Tendulkar 2 lakh.