How To Bulk Unfollow On Twitter in Minutes

I haven’t “tweeted” for a long time. I joined Twitter on the general bandwagon last year, downloaded and installed TweetDeck – and pretty much forgot about it. I did turn on Auto-Follow via SocialOomph though. So a year later I have 3,000 followers and maybe 50 are HostNexus clients and people I know. So 2,950 people have followed me for the sole reason of spamming me with links to their sites. They don’t care what I say because, well, I say very little. If I’m ever going to really use Twitter I need to follow only those I have a general interest in following and that is people I choose to follow and any past, present or prospective clients of HostNexus.

So today I went on a mission to purge my Twitter account.

As most people in Twitterdom know, there are thousands of apps that help you manage your Twitter account, so I thought that mass unfollowing on Twitter was going to be pretty simple. I tried several tools but all either had no Bulk Unfollow option or no Select All option. I started hitting Unfollow on people on Twitter Karma but that got real old after about 100 clicks. I then start hitting checkboxes on Tweepi and Untweeps but another 150 clicks later my right index finger started to cramp up in a death grip from hell. But both Tweepi and Untweeps do not list all your followers so it was kind of pointless anyhow. I then found ManageFlitter which listed all your followers in pages of 100 with checkboxes, but of course no Select All option.

I did some digging and found out that Twitter had put their foot down on Mass Unfollowing in April of this year (2010). All applications either had to remove Bulk Unfollow options or the Select All option to continue to operate within Twitter’s update TOS. Pretty ridiculous. I can understand enforcing a Bulk Unfollow option but telling developers to remove a “Select All” option? Very weird. But it got me thinking. The Select All thing is just a JavaScript call and happens in your browser so surely there should be a nifty little FireFox plugin that allows me to Select All?

Yes! There is. πŸ˜€

A plugin is available for FireFox 3.0 called Check All but it doesn’t work in FireFox 3.6 that I’m currently using. After another plugin search I found an experimental plugin which is an updated version of Check All and you can find it here. There is another one here (thanks backy). Mozilla will give you all types of warnings about the first plugin, saying it hasn’t been verified and that your computer might grow legs and jump out the window if you install it. It works just fine. Install it. Restart FireFox, rawr.

Next go to ManageFlitter and login via Twitter Oauth. Click “Show All” and you’ll be presented with a list of your followers in pages of 100 with a checkbox next to each and an Unfollow button on the left. Hit Ctrl+A (Select All, yes baby), right click on a highlighted area and you’ll see the new plugin option “Check All Selected Checkboxes”, click Unfollow.

Unfollowing 100 people on Twitter in one go is a beautiful thing to behold. πŸ™‚

Click Next, Ctrl+A, Right Click, Select All Checkboxes, Unfollow. Boom, another 100 Tweeps bite the dust. Rinse and repeat. I got it down to 5 seconds per page, that’s a 1,000 in under a minute. Bye Tweeps.

P.S. If you’re one of the 12 invisible people I’m still following….my hat goes off to you for evading the purge.

P.P.S. Damn, those Unfollow programs are quick. 600 people auto-unfollowed me already!. I’m crushed. :p

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About the author


Hi, my name is Laurence and I’m a web hosting aficionado. When I'm not cracking the whip at HN I can be found at the gym where I'm chasing that 500lb deadlift and kickboxing with guys half my age and still giving as good as I get. Yep, a rare breed of tech nerd mixed in with meathead.

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  1. Kedrew

    neat idea – but do you ever wonder if maybe the twitter peeps would of thought of this? and maybe for people who try to do it this method, mass unfollow activity accounts might get banned & not get away with it?

    hmm… risky tho eh?

  2. Laurence (aka NexDog)
    Post author
    Laurence (aka NexDog)

    It’s not even a grey area if you think about it. Twitter gave developers the choice of removing unfollow options or a select all option. When you go to certain sites you are still presented with lists with checkboxes and an unfollow option. There is NO difference between checking each box and using a plugin to check each box – just because a site has no select all option.

    What’s next? Twitter saying what plugins we can and can’t use in FireFox? Pretty ridiculous.

    1. Laurence (aka NexDog)
      Post author
      Laurence (aka NexDog)

      I’m using FireFox 3.6.6 and it definitely works. Restart FF after you install it and then when you highlight an area with your mouse (or do a Ctrl+A) right click a highlighted area and you’ll see teh option in the right click menu “Check All Selected Checkboxes”. The option only shows if a page has checkboxes on it.

      1. San Diego

        This totally worked for me and it’s awesome! Thanks for the info and the feedback. It is definitely a cool plugin for unfollowing and I love work arounds.

  3. DiTesco

    And behold. A turnaround does exist and it seems to be working nicely. Gotta try this one. Thanks for leading a comment on my blog that directed me here 😎 One question though, does this work also for “following” and “unfollowing” people who do not follow you back or does this addon work “in disguise” inside say the Tweepi interface?

  4. Captain Jack

    I use .. It has a flush page. It only flushes people not following you back. Trick on it is to click the top box then shift click on the last one, which selects all.

    “P.S. If you’re one of the 12 invisible people I’m still following….my hat goes off to you for evading the purge.”
    ^^ Likely that it just failed. Try again and I think it would pull those last remaining off.

    “P.P.S. Damn, those Unfollow programs are quick. 600 people auto-unfollowed me already!. I’m crushed. :p ”
    ^^^ Only unfollow people not following you. I follow everyone that follows me. I use a webbot to do that for me.

    My system is to follow everyone that is willing to follow me back. How good is this system? At the time of this comment, I have over 44,000 friends. From that I have built a very large following of great people. Sure there are some deadbeats but I have some very cool new friends now.

  5. paul_h

    This worked rather well. I found it worthwhile to scan through the list and uncheck a few key non followers, but that aside it worked as advertised.

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