Twitter never discloses the actual number of registered users. But in their SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) disclosures just before their IPO in the first week of November 2013, it was around 230 million users. Note that this is only the number of monthly active users on an average on twitter. Twitter is not happy with the people who adopt a wrongful practice of aggressive following. But before we come to what exactly it is, why people adopt it, and for what kind of gains, let us look at some biggest social networks. Reportedly Facebook has around 2 billion users, WhatsApp has more than a billion users as of February 2017, Messenger has an equal number of users as per the data of the same month, YouTube also has a similar figure. Instagram is a little behind with 700 million users while WeChat floats between YouTube and Instagram.
Surprisingly, an article in The Motley Fool by Daniel Sparks published on March 30, 2017, places Twitter on number 9 in a list of top 10 social networks. The ranking is on the basis of Monthly Active Users. So all the figures for various social media above are for their monthly active users. For Twitter, the figure is 328 million in the same article. Now let us see what is aggressive following. Basically, if a user on Twitter starts following hundreds of other user accounts in a random or unsystematic manner, Twitter counts it as an offense. In fact, they treat it as an effort to grab attention for some kind of popularity or any other selfish purpose. There is a difference between following a few users on the basis of your interest or profession which indicates nothing as abnormal. But performing it indiscriminately is an abnormal activity.
Aggressive Following Is Abnormal
Twitter keeps a track of people indulging in Aggressive Following. Many of those would have a bad experience of getting a message from Twitter stating that they would not be able to use all the features of Twitter for this abnormal behavior. An article on Twitter Blog is helpful in this regard. Why people do it? Obviously, this kind of acts is intentional with a malicious purpose. The purpose is quite simple. Let me give an example. A user follows hundreds of accounts in a single day in a random manner. The intention behind this is that a lot of them will follow back. So let us think that 40 out of 100 follow back. Now this person with wrong intentions unfollows all the 100. It is quite possible that 20 out of those 40 keep a track of who is unfollowing hence unfollow this person after he unfollows.
Therefore with a regular practice of Aggressive Following, this person is able to gain followers. He, in fact, gets a net following of 20 users without ultimately following them. That is the secret of this bad game. And a lot of people are doing it. This act of following in bulk and unfollowing them repeatedly is aggressive follow churn. Such accounts can face an account suspension because of this spam tactics. This is a kind of fiddling with your follow-to-follower ratio in a wrongful manner.