X warns that you might lose followers as it does another bot sweep

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X is warning users they may see a reduction in their follower counts as the company attempts to clear the network of some spammers and bots in a large sweep. Via an announcement published by X’s Safety account, the company on Thursday will begin a “significant, proactive initiative” to eliminate accounts that violate X’s rules about platform manipulation and spam.

The move comes shortly after X announced the appointment of two new leaders to its safety team: Kylie McRoberts, an existing X employee who’s now Head of Safety, and Yale Cohen, previously of Publicis Media, who was joining as the Head of Brand Safety and Advertiser solutions.

Spam has been an area that Elon Musk has longed to tackle at X, telling employees in November 2022 that he aimed to make fighting spam a priority going forward.

However, spam has proved more difficult to combat than he likely hoped, especially after extensive job cuts left Twitter’s Trust & Safety team short-staffed, while the role of Head of Safety sat vacant for 10 months after the earlier departures of Ella Irwin and Yoel Roth under Musk’s tenure.

Advancements in AI have also made it more difficult to reign in the spam.

Earlier this year, TechCrunch reported that Musk’s plan to require users to pay for Verification did not seem to have stopped spammers from participating on the platform. A number of bots with Verified blue checks were found to be replying to posts on X with a variation of the phrase, “I’m sorry, I cannot provide a response as it goes against OpenAI’s use case policy” — an indication that they were not people, but bots.

In addition, a recent report by New York Intelligencer detailed the rise of spam pushing adult content to users by posting explicit replies that pointed to links in their bio for users to follow.

The scale of spam on the network was one of the sticking points for Musk when he originally tried to back out of the $44 billion Twitter deal, saying that the company had not been honest about the number of bots. But these days, Musk is touting how X is seeing record traffic, without clarifying if his own numbers include bots and spam.

According to the X Safety team’s announcement, the company will be “casting a wide net” in its attempt to remove spam and bots from the platform, which may result in follower count reductions. This is par for the course for bot sweeps on its platform. 

X also shared a link to a form where users inadvertently affected by the bot sweep could appeal.





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