President Donald Trump tweeted about how his Twitter is upsetting him this morning, complaining that his follower count has gone down and that the site has “stifled growth to a point where it is obvious to all.”
“A few weeks ago it was a Rocket Ship, now it is a Blimp! Total Bias?” reads Trump’s tweet from Friday morning.
Many on the site had a lot to say about the tweet:
Despite the crises happening around the world this week, it’s not unusual for Trump to publicly talk about Twitter on Twitter. Amid his daily posts on the platform, he often shares his grievances.
On Friday morning, alongside his Twitter tweet, Trump tweeted a conspiracy theory on a series of mail bombs sent to CNN and some of his high-profile critics and his feelings on unauthorized immigration.
In reference to his follower count, one site that tracks followers ― Twitter Counter ― indicated that Trump’s follower count remained stagnant the last four days. However, another site, Socialbakers, shows Trump’s followers have declined slightly in that period.
As reporter Aaron Blake put it, “Internet metrics can be dodgy and inconsistent.”
Additionally, all this points back to Twitter’s ongoing efforts to purge its site of fake and inactive accounts. The platform said in June that it was going to start making new users confirm phone numbers and emails as well as auditing existing users.
In July many users saw those efforts overnight when accounts lost hundreds and thousands of followers ― some even millions ― as bots were eliminated. Aly Pavela, a Twitter spokeswoman, told The New York Times that the “work of eliminating the accounts from users’ follower counts would continue over the coming days.”
The Times noted that Trump lost about 340,000 followers in the Twitter purge then, knocking him down to 53 million from 53.4 million. Twitter did not specify what, if anything, is affecting his account this week, but a spokesperson told HuffPost:
“Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior. Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people.”