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Twitter defends removal of fake accounts after Trump criticism

Twitter defends removal of fake accounts after Trump criticism

Twitter is defending its policy of removing fake accounts after President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichael Cohen: I pray Michelle Obama's words will unite country again Michelle Obama: ‘I stopped even trying to smile’ during Trump’s inauguration Trump wants to end federal relief money for Puerto Rico: report MORE attacked the tech company for removing “many people from my account.”

The social media giant said it was seeking to remove fake accounts so that people would know their followers are actually real people and argued that this was for the better.

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“Our focus is on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior," a spokesperson for Twitter said in a statement to The Hill. "Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people.” 

The statement comes after Trump criticized the company, tweeting Friday: “Twitter has removed many people from my account and, more importantly, they have seemingly done something that makes it much harder to join — they have 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?”

SocialBlade analytics show that Trump’s follower account has steadily increased since Oct. 13. However, it is possible that Twitter’s purge of automated accounts, or bots, impacted Trump’s number of followers. 

Twitter announced on Thursday that its crackdown on bot accounts was a main reason why it lost  9 million users in the third quarter of this year. 

Right-wing politicians and activists have long accused Twitter of banning accounts that voiced conservative opinions in a practice they call “shadow banning.”

“Twitter 'SHADOW BANNING' prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints,” Trump tweeted in July.