Social media platform Twitter today responded to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s accusation that his followers’ count on the microblogging platform has been suppressed suddenly. Rahul Gandhi had written to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal on December 27 last year.
“…it is perplexing that the growth in my Twitter followers has suddenly been suppressed. With nearly 20 million followers, my Twitter account has been very active, adding an average of eight to ten thousand new followers every day,” Gandhi had stated in his letter. At present, Rahul Gandhi’s Twitter follower count stands at 19.6 million.
Rahul Gandhi had also accused Twitter of ‘unwitting complicity in curbing free and fair speech in India’. He said that as a leader of India’s largest opposition party, he must raise his voice on behalf of people against injustice.
Responding to Rahul Gandhi’s letter, a Twitter spokesperson said that follower counts are a visible feature and Twitter wants everyone to have confidence that numbers are meaningful and accurate. “Twitter has a zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation…We fight spam and malicious automation strategically and at scale with machine learning tools, and as part of those consistent and ongoing efforts to ensure a healthy service and credible accounts, follower counts can and do fluctuate,” said the spokesperson.
He further added that Twitter removes many accounts every week for violating the company’s policies. “We remove millions of accounts each week for violating our policies on platform manipulation and spam. You can take a look at the latest Twitter Transparency Center update for more context. While some accounts notice a minor difference, in certain cases, the number could be higher,” said the Twitter spokesperson.