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In Twitter purge, Ugandan brands, celebs lose thousands of followers

Fake Twitter accounts in Uganda

The crackdown by the microblogging site, Twitter, on fake accounts, spam, and trolls, which started in April of this year gained steam Thursday when international figures and top brands woke up to a loss of millions of followers.

Celebrated figures like the former US President Barrack Obama and songstresses Rihanna and Katy Perry lost more than 2 million followers, in a clean-up that Twitter is doing to build trust and fight other reputational-tarnishing behaviors on the social media platform.

In Uganda, the impact was not different. Though there are no accounts with a million followers in Uganda, if you calculate by percentages, the strip-off was really significant. For instance, the singer Ziza Bafana lost more than half of his followers while the musician Eddy Kenzo had his followers slashed from 108,511 to 73,739.

When the razor ripped through media houses’ accounts, NBS Television was the most ‘injured’, losing more than 12000 followers, while its competitor, NTV, lost over 5000.

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The purge is still ongoing and Twitter says it hopes to reduce the accounts by more than 6 percent by the end of the campaign. So far, more than 70 million accounts have been suspended. The sweep-out is targeting accounts that have remained inactive for more than a month or indicate suspicious behavior like a sudden spike in the number of followers or churning out tweets round the clock.

With the rise in the so-called social media influencing, celebrities and other individuals with a strong following have bought followers to elevate their statuses on social media so that they can tap into the money companies are spending on social media advertising. The more numbers you have, the more you are paid.

But as more companies learn about these phony activities, they have blamed the social media platforms for not cracking the whip on such behaviors that are a hindrance to accountability and transparency.

Telecommunications companies were also not spared, with Airtel losing the highest number of followers, followed by MTN. Uganda Police is the only government agency that did not lose any followers, basing on those we were able to assess. Some of the companies and individuals could not be assessed by the tool we used.

The figures used in this article were retrieved on Saturday at 6 pm using an analytics tool called SocialBlade. The figures for Saturday are compared with those of Wednesday.

Current (Saturday) Prev (As of Wed) Lost
Airtel 156,882 158,043  1,293
MTN 179,490 180,864  1,284
Africell 57,747 58,083   379
Movit 11,045 11,291   258
NBS 299,028 286,358  12,670
NTV 756,150 761,822  5,592
DailyMonitor 552,152 556,578  4,247
NewVision 444,002 446,559  2,488
RedPepper 283,197 284,852  1,384
UrbanTV 151,776 152,705   921
Capital FM 42,433 42,487   126
Ziza Bafana 21,237 74,661  53,033
Eddy Kenzo 73,739 108,511  34,772
Charles Obbo 342,816 345,183   2,405
Robert Kabushenga 102,062 102,720   742
Flavia Tumusiime
62,690
63,244
   582
Bebe Cool
99,166
99,418    350
Anne Kansiime 74,118 74,468    347
Julian Kanyomozi 37,680 37,928    315
Pastor Martin Ssempa
11,266
11,410
    142
APass
47,351
47,316    98
Bobi Wine 148,204 147,667    39
Uganda Police 59,990 59,754  Didn’t Lose
Uganda Media Center 140,485 140,991   578
Umeme 93,754 94,143   476
UCC 50,377 50,548   216

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