Analysis: Twitter Account Purge Erases About 2% Of WWE followers

On July 11, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced that the service would be removing locked accounts from follower counts starting Thursday. As explained by Twitter's Vijaya Gadde, these "locked accounts" are usually "created by real people" but Twitter "cannot confirm that the original person who opened the account still has control and access to it." While this is a first step in removing "fake" followers from profiles, many outlets still believe there's a long way to go and Twitter's stock price sliding downwards after fake-account purge reports.

For WWE, losing followers matters. After all, one of the Key Performance Indicators that WWE continuously brags about is their number of "Social Media Followers". This number is a combination of followers on Facebook, Twitter and Other Platforms. It's important to the company to show continuous growth each quarter. While the disclaimer on WWE's "Social Media: WWE Reach" slide does note that "total followers have not been adjusted for duplication among or within platforms and do not represent the number of 'unique' followers", WWE certainly doesn't welcome negative KPI metrics which could dilute positive momentum with their sky-rocketing stock-price.

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According to WWE's KPI materials, since the beginning of 2014, WWE has seen their total number of Twitter followers jump from 84 million in Q1'2014 to 201 million in Q4'2018. WWE has averaged 5.6% quarter-over-quarter growth over the past four years.


To review what sort of impact the great "Twitter Purge" may have on WWE's Twitter follower, I noted the number of followers for profiles listed as part of WWE Superstars and International WWE on Wednesday (7/11, pre-purge) and Friday (7/13, post-purge).

(It should be noted that the Superstars list appears to have been created a few years ago and still includes several wrestlers who have left WWE such as El Torito, Big Cass, Jack Swagger, Simon Gotch and Darren Young. In addition, it includes brands that haven't been active for some time with final tweets in March 2016 for WWE Divas and February 2015 for The Authority. Nor do these two lists, of about 126 accounts, represent the entirety of the WWE's Twitter followers. These lists do not include many NXT superstar accounts or newer arrivals to the WWE main roster such as Samoa Joe or Asuka. However, this comparison over time might provide an interesting cross-section sampling of WWE accounts include male wrestlers, female wrestlers, WWE alumni, WWE brands and non-wrestler WWE talent such as announcers and road agents. There is also a nice distribution of accounts with low number of followers - such as Jamie Noble's 17k - to high number of followers - such as John Cena's 11 million.)

Overall, my analysis suggested that the 126 accounts began with approximately 157.3 million followers on Wednesday and ended with approximately 153.7 million followers on Friday. The loss of 3.6 million followers represented a drop of about 2.3% of WWE's followers. That is a non-trivial amount since that's almost half the average quarterly follower growth for WWE's Twitter accounts.

Eight prominent and large accounts saw drops of 100,000 or followers over the two-day period including:

  1. The Rock (-400k, -3.1%): dropped from 13.1m followers to 12.7m followers
  2. John Cena (-300k, -2.6%): dropped from 11.6m followers to 11.3m followers
  3. WWE (-200k, -1.9%): dropped from 10.3m followers to 10.1m followers
  4. Randy Orton (-180k, -3.0%): dropped from 6.02m followers to 5.84m followers
  5. Steve Austin (-120k, -2.7%): dropped from 4.47m followers to 4.35m followers
  6. Chris Jericho (-110k, -3.1%): dropped from 3.5m followers to 3.39m followers
  7. The Miz (-100k, -3.2%): dropped from 3.08m followers to 2.98m followers
  8. Triple H (-100k, -1.4%): dropped from 7.25m followers to 7.15m followers

Conversely, other accounts saw only minimal changes:

  1. Sami Zayn (no change): remained at 1.06m followers
  2. Alexa Bliss (-9k, -0.9%): dropped from 961k followers to 952k followers
  3. Charlotte Flair (-10k, -0.8%): dropped from 1.3m followers to 1.29m followers
  4. Brock Lesnar (-10k, -0.8%): dropped from 1.22m followers to 1.21m followers
  5. Finn Balor (-10k, -0.8%): dropped from 1.19m followers to 1.18m followers
  6. Kevin Owens (-10k, -0.9%): dropped from 1.15m followers to 1.14m followers
  7. Bayley (-10k, -0.9%): dropped from 1.12m followers to 1.11m followers
  8. Lana (-10k, -1.0%): dropped from 1.04m to 1.03m followers

Here is the complete dataset collected by Chris Harrington.

TWITTER Handle 7/11/18 FOLLOWERS 7/13/18 FOLLOWERS change % change
WWEDeutschland 45,800 43,100 2,700 -5.9%
WWEEpico 191,000 181,000 10,000 -5.2%
scottstanford1 116,000 110,000 6,000 -5.2%
howardfinkel 401,000 381,000 20,000 -5.0%
TonyChimelWWE 70,000 66,600 3,400 -4.9%
DavidOtunga 664,000 633,000 31,000 -4.7%
jamieGNoble 17,800 17,000 800 -4.5%
MichaelCole 919,000 878,000 41,000 -4.5%
BookerT5x 1,350,000 1,290,000 60,000 -4.4%
milanmiracle 1,150,000 1,100,000 50,000 -4.3%
LilianGarcia 687,000 658,000 29,000 -4.2%
JerryLawler 1,440,000 1,380,000 60,000 -4.2%
trishstratuscom 1,200,000 1,150,000 50,000 -4.2%
realfredrosser 424,000 407,000 17,000 -4.0%
ZackRyder 2,290,000 2,200,000 90,000 -3.9%
LaRosaMendes 714,000 686,000 28,000 -3.9%
RealJackSwagger 985,000 947,000 38,000 -3.9%
RealKingRegal 809,000 778,000 31,000 -3.8%
TrueKofi 2,100,000 2,020,000 80,000 -3.8%
RonKillings 1,630,000 1,570,000 60,000 -3.7%
AliciaFoxy 744,000 717,000 27,000 -3.6%
TJWilson 830,000 800,000 30,000 -3.6%
HeathSlaterOMRB 693,000 669,000 24,000 -3.5%
JCLayfield 782,000 755,000 27,000 -3.5%
LukeGallowsWWE 329,000 318,000 11,000 -3.3%
mikethemiz 3,080,000 2,980,000 100,000 -3.2%
Goldust 622,000 602,000 20,000 -3.2%
iamjericho 3,500,000 3,390,000 110,000 -3.1%
WWERoadDogg 511,000 495,000 16,000 -3.1%
WWETheBigShow 2,560,000 2,480,000 80,000 -3.1%
joeyfromrasslin 128,000 124,000 4,000 -3.1%
JinderMahal 290,000 281,000 9,000 -3.1%
TheMarkHenry 1,290,000 1,250,000 40,000 -3.1%
TitusONeilWWE 614,000 595,000 19,000 -3.1%
TheRock 13,100,000 12,700,000 400,000 -3.1%
WWEFandango 591,000 573,000 18,000 -3.0%
RealCurtisAxel 662,000 642,000 20,000 -3.0%
RandyOrton 6,020,000 5,840,000 180,000 -3.0%
TaminaSnuka 488,000 474,000 14,000 -2.9%
TherealRVD 1,090,000 1,060,000 30,000 -2.8%
steveaustinBSR 4,470,000 4,350,000 120,000 -2.7%
TestifyDVon 298,000 290,000 8,000 -2.7%
MarceloAtWWE 114,000 111,000 3,000 -2.6%
JohnCena 11,600,000 11,300,000 300,000 -2.6%
NaomiWWE 1,010,000 984,000 26,000 -2.6%
HEELZiggler 2,820,000 2,750,000 70,000 -2.5%
KaneWWE 447,000 436,000 11,000 -2.5%
lavozcabrera 53,100 51,800 1,300 -2.4%
WWE_PL 7,926 7,732 194 -2.4%
WWEAbuDhabi 12,300 12,000 300 -2.4%
AmyDumas 494,000 482,000 12,000 -2.4%
NatbyNature 2,060,000 2,010,000 50,000 -2.4%
ItsJoseann 210,000 205,000 5,000 -2.4%
BellaTwins 3,570,000 3,490,000 80,000 -2.2%
WWEUsos 1,400,000 1,370,000 30,000 -2.1%
HeymanHustle 1,940,000 1,900,000 40,000 -2.1%
WWEElTorito 79,800 78,200 1,600 -2.0%
TheBoDallas 251,000 246,000 5,000 -2.0%
bullyray5150 305,000 299,000 6,000 -2.0%
WWE 10,300,000 10,100,000 200,000 -1.9%
WWEBigE 726,000 712,000 14,000 -1.9%
WWESheamus 4,970,000 4,880,000 90,000 -1.8%
WWEDivas 168,000 165,000 3,000 -1.8%
WWE_Fr 45,100 44,300 800 -1.8%
WWEDanielBryan 4,520,000 4,440,000 80,000 -1.8%
natalieevamarie 931,000 915,000 16,000 -1.7%
WWEBrayWyatt 1,170,000 1,150,000 20,000 -1.7%
WWE_Primo 118,000 116,000 2,000 -1.7%
DanielleMoinet 947,000 931,000 16,000 -1.7%
WWEAustralia 47,800 47,000 800 -1.7%
TheDeanAmbrose 543,000 534,000 9,000 -1.7%
WWEJapan 44,100 43,400 700 -1.6%
ViktorRiseWWE 134,000 132,000 2,000 -1.5%
VinceMcMahon 2,090,000 2,060,000 30,000 -1.4%
StephMcMahon 2,840,000 2,800,000 40,000 -1.4%
WWEmena 79,000 77,900 1,100 -1.4%
WWE_es 36,100 35,600 500 -1.4%
TripleH 7,250,000 7,150,000 100,000 -1.4%
AJStylesOrg 945,000 932,000 13,000 -1.4%
WWEUK 147,000 145,000 2,000 -1.4%
NederlandWWE 15,100 14,900 200 -1.3%
ReneeYoungWWE 909,000 897,000 12,000 -1.3%
WWEDramaKing 156,000 154,000 2,000 -1.3%
TenilleDashwood 1,610,000 1,590,000 20,000 -1.2%
SashaBanksWWE 1,640,000 1,620,000 20,000 -1.2%
ERICKROWAN 330,000 326,000 4,000 -1.2%
WWECesaro 1,660,000 1,640,000 20,000 -1.2%
XavierWoodsPhD 593,000 586,000 7,000 -1.2%
MojoRawleyWWE 176,000 174,000 2,000 -1.1%
LukeHarperWWE 443,000 438,000 5,000 -1.1%
WWEsAuthority 19,500 19,300 200 -1.0%
ByronSaxton 102,000 101,000 1,000 -1.0%
WWENeville 616,000 610,000 6,000 -1.0%
LanaWWE 1,040,000 1,030,000 10,000 -1.0%
WWE_Ufficiale 20,900 20,700 200 -1.0%
WWERollins 3,200,000 3,170,000 30,000 -0.9%
AlexaBliss_WWE 961,000 952,000 9,000 -0.9%
TomPhillipsWWE 109,000 108,000 1,000 -0.9%
WWERomanReigns 3,290,000 3,260,000 30,000 -0.9%
RealPaigeWWE 2,200,000 2,180,000 20,000 -0.9%
MmmGorgeous 331,000 328,000 3,000 -0.9%
WWEGraves 444,000 440,000 4,000 -0.9%
itsBayleyWWE 1,120,000 1,110,000 10,000 -0.9%
FightOwensFight 1,150,000 1,140,000 10,000 -0.9%
FinnBalor 1,190,000 1,180,000 10,000 -0.8%
deviousjourney 119,000 118,000 1,000 -0.8%
BrockLesnar 1,220,000 1,210,000 10,000 -0.8%
RusevBUL 615,000 610,000 5,000 -0.8%
wweespanol 126,000 125,000 1,000 -0.8%
JasonJordanJJ 253,000 251,000 2,000 -0.8%
MsCharlotteWWE 1,300,000 1,290,000 10,000 -0.8%
KalistoWWE 264,000 262,000 2,000 -0.8%
SinCaraWWE 425,000 422,000 3,000 -0.7%
KarlAndersonWWE 299,000 297,000 2,000 -0.7%
BigCassWWE 152,000 151,000 1,000 -0.7%
WWEApollo 168,000 167,000 1,000 -0.6%
BaronCorbinWWE 364,000 362,000 2,000 -0.5%
real1 566,000 563,000 3,000 -0.5%
NiaJaxWWE 420,000 418,000 2,000 -0.5%
DanaBrookeWWE 422,000 420,000 2,000 -0.5%
WWEGable 225,000 224,000 1,000 -0.4%
CarmellaWWE 692,000 689,000 3,000 -0.4%
shanemcmahon 590,000 588,000 2,000 -0.3%
SamiZayn 1,060,000 1,060,000 - 0.0%
BraunStrowman 358,000 358,000 - 0.0%
AskMrBacklund 9,331 9,336 (5) 0.1%

A few notes on the observed trends:

  • Average drop for the 65 active, in-ring WWE talent was about -2.1% whereas the drop among 21 WWE alumni was about -3.0%.
  • The 25 accounts for active, non-in-ring WWE talent (such as announcers or executives) was -2.4%.
  • The 15 WWE Brand pages (such as WWE Japan or WWE Poland) suffered the least number of shuttered followers at -2.0%.
  • The twitter account for one WWE talent (@KonnorWWE) disappeared sometime between yesterday and this morning.

Chris Harrington (@mookieghana) is the co-host of Wrestlenomics Radio, a weekly podcast which examines the business, economics and statistics of professional wrestling. Content like this article is discussed on both our free show and in-depth Patreon premium show.

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