Conservative Twitter users noticed a massive drop in their followers this week after the social media network reportedly suspended thousands of accounts of individuals believed to be Russian bots. Some users are even reporting that they were locked out of their accounts, with the hashtag #TwitterLockOut trending by Wednesday morning.
In an official statement from Twitter, a spokesperson justified the suspensions by saying, “Twitter’s tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias.”
“As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse. We also take action on any accounts we find that violate our terms of service, including asking account owners to confirm a phone number so we can confirm a human is behind it,” the spokesperson continued.
The spokesperson added, “That’s why some people may be experiencing suspensions or locks. This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone.”
Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook have been facing major scrutiny recently for their roles in allowing Russian election meddling. Last month, Twitter told Congress that Russian bots had retweeted President Trump’s tweets close to 500,000 times leading up to the 2016 election.