Twitter cracks down hard on bots

February 22, 2018

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Twitter is cracking down hard on bots and automated tweets in response to recent criticism of the company and recent revelations in the US’s Russia investigation last week.

Yesterday’s Twitter’s Yoel Roth issued an update to API policy regarding limitations of what users are allowed to do on the platform with automation and apps that enable automation. While the list is substantial, it can be summarised as below. 

  • 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.
  • Posting multiple updates (on a single account or across multiple accounts you control) to a trending or popular topic (for instance, through the use of a specific hashtag) with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic, or to artificially inflate the prominence of a hashtag or topic, is never allowed.

Of course, some accounts like government or emergency services accounts are exempted, but the message is clear: Illicit manipulation of Twitter to boost your message is no longer allowed.

The firm also purged bot accounts on Twitter, prompting a backlash from internet personalities who had indulged in bot purchases to boost their prominence on the platform.

Twitter is continuing to review its stances on how users use the platform in light of the several controversies it has been embroiled in with harassment, trolls, information warfare and the like, and more changes are expected to come down the pipeline.

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