Twitter is about to slash tens of millions of fake accounts in a huge bid to finally end social media fraud.
The social network says many activists, businesses and aspiring celebs have inflated their followers in recent years with automated and fake accounts.
But on Thursday, the total combined follower count on Twitter will tumble by around six per cent.
Twitter bosses say they have identified tens of millions of "questionable accounts" they will remove without warning.
Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for trust and safety, told The New York Times: "We don’t want to incentivize the purchase of followers and fake accounts to artificially inflate follower counts, because it’s not an accurate measure of someone’s influence on the platform or influence in the world.
"We think it’s a really important and meaningful metric, and we want people to have confidence that these are engaged users that are following other accounts."
The problem has reportedly led to complaints by advertisers using Twitter.
Advertising and marketing firms have put pressure on the site, YouTube and other platforms to tackle fake accounts.
Last month, the consumer goods giant Unilever, which spends billions of dollars a year on advertising, announced it would no longer pay influencers who purchased followers.
Juan Guzman, a researcher at University College London who has exposed hundreds of thousands of bots on social media, told BBC : "Until recently, Twitter did not think bots were a problem on its platform and did not lead a strong bot-detection effort.
"It was only after Brexit and the 2016 election, where these bots became a liability and Twitter, as well as Facebook began taking them seriously."
Credit: MIrror UK