September 22, 2021
Twitter bot crackdown

Twitter Finally gets Serious about Its Serious Bot Problem

A much-needed Twitter bot crackdown is underway, targeting bulk tweeting and duplicate accounts across the microblog’s platform…

A long-awaited Twitter bot crackdown is now aggressively seeking out propaganda bots, spam, and more. In an effort to clean up the site, developers are now prohibited from using any system which simultaneously posts “identical or substantially similar” content. Particularly that which does so from multiple accounts at one time. The ban further extends to software which simultaneously triggers actions such as likes, retweets, and follows across multiple accounts.

Twitter Bot Crackdown Begins

The Twitter bot crackdown also extends to its own services. The microblog will remove such options from Tweetdeck, its own app. Third-party developers must meet the new standards by March 23rd or be out-of-compliance.

Its actions are ‘an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter — including elections in the United States and around the world,” Twitter explains.

In a detailed blog post, Twitter states it’s okay to send out a tweet and then have multiple accounts retweet the post. But, it cannot be “bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated retweeting.” The bulk tweeting proscription applies to a slew of simultaneous, duplicate tweets or scheduled tweets across a long timeline. However, apps are still able to cross-post through things like RSS readers but this applies only to a single account.

It’s important to note, the new rules do not apply to alerts. So, “weather, emergency, or other public service announcements of broad community interest” are exempt.

Twitter offers two ground rules. One warns, “Posting duplicative or substantially similar content, replies, or mentions over multiple accounts you control, or creating duplicate or substantially similar accounts, with or without the use of automation, is never allowed.” The other states to avoid attempts to manipulate a trending topic. So, multiple accounts can’t barrage a topic “with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic, or to artificially inflate the prominence of a hashtag or topic.”