Twitter Users Are Complaining About a #Twitterlockout and a #Twitterpurge

Fact Check

  • by: Maarten Schenk

It appears Twitter has temporarily locked a large number of accounts for exhibiting "automated behaviour that violates the Twitter Rules". Users are urged to enable verification of their account via their phone number to unlock their accounts. Many users are also reporting they lost significant numbers of followers leading to speculation that Twitter has been systematically purging bot accounts overnight.

Here is an example of the sort of message many users say they've been receiving (tweet archived here):

Twitter users have taken to using the hashtags #twitterlockout and #twitterpurge to complain about this. Many of them are accusing Twitter of only targeting conservative or Trump supporting accounts.


At this time Twitter has released no statement via its official blog, main @twitter account or @twittersupport account although the support account was recently seen promoting two factor authentication so this may indeed be part of a bigger strategy to get rid of mass-created automated accounts.

Lead Stories launched a Twitter poll to see how many users were affected:

Here are the latest tweets about both hashtags:

  Maarten Schenk

Lead Stories co-founder Maarten Schenk is our resident expert on fake news and hoax websites. He likes to go beyond just debunking trending fake news stories and is endlessly fascinated by the dazzling variety of psychological and technical tricks used by the people and networks who intentionally spread made-up things on the internet.  He can often be found at conferences and events about fake news, disinformation and fact checking when he is not in his office in Belgium monitoring and tracking the latest fake article to go viral.

Read more about or contact Maarten Schenk

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