Twitter Is Taking Steps to Reduce the Effectiveness of Bots

Starting March 23, simultaneous tweets, retweets, likes and follows are taboo

Twitter is making this guy's job a lot more difficult MatiasEnElMundo/iStock
Headshot of David Cohen

Developers of bots that enable simultaneous tweets, retweets, likes or follows will have to go back to the drawing board before March 23.

Twitter announced last month that it would be “limiting the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts in TweetDeck and via the Twitter API [application-programming interface],” and Yoel Roth, who works on API policy and product trust for the social network, provided more details in a blog post.

With the exception of apps “that broadcast or share weather, emergency or other public-service announcements of broad community interest (for example, earthquake or tsunami alerts), apps using Twitter’s API must comply with the following rules by March 23 or face “enforcement action, up to and including the suspension of associated apps and accounts”:

  • Do not allow users to simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts, or to schedule such posts. Roth said content can be retweeted from one account to other accounts, but “this should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control.”
  • Do not allow users to simultaneously perform actions such as likes, retweets or follows from multiple accounts.
  • The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as likes or retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted.

Roth also announced that Twitter’s own TweetDeck is following the same rules, as users can no longer select multiple accounts to simultaneously tweet, retweet, like or follow. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.