For some time, the follower and following counts we display have been incorrect for some folks. We’re soon to push a change that will address this issue. This means that the count you see in your sidebar should match what you see on your follower and following pages.
However, a consequence of this change is that follower counts will drop for some people. In particular, those with large followings may see significant changes as we correct for spam accounts and data inconsistencies. No legitimate followings should be affected—we’re just cleaning up artifacts in the system.
I have not seen much drop on my account overnight but many have reported great loss. Also I have not seen any big drop on top Twitter users yet. Maybe the sweep is still underway. I will report if I see any big dramatic changes.
I think it is a great thing what they are doing. They are doing the work for you. Kudos to Twitter for doing this. If you are focused on building a community for your own business, you want to make sure the followers are as real as possible. You don’t want to have spammers as your followers for the sake of follower count. It has to be “Quality” vs “Quantity” followers. I would rather have 100 quality followers than 100 additional spammers on my account. You want to have real people. Therefore, this housing cleaning at Twitter will help all of you.
As I am on a Twitter follow to help startups succeed through Social Media, I will be reporting more on Twitter over the next few weeks. I will be reporting on Twitter itself and also on lessons that I have learned – to build my network, etc. This should help you get started with Twitter if you haven’t already or help you build your own network.