Twitter’s spam bot issue isn’t new, but it came to a head when it was revealed that thousands of Russian troll accounts used the platform to influence the 2016 Presidential elections. Now, the company has announced a set of changes and new developer guidelines meant to fight off automated actions and to make it harder for “tweetdeckers” to flood the social network. Starting on March 23rd, 2018, apps will need to be able to prevent bulk tweeting or face “enforcement action, up to and including the suspension of associated applications and accounts.”
Twitter has always had anti-spam rules, but its new guidelines clarify what is and isn’t allowed on the website. According to those guidelines, apps shouldn’t permit a user to tweet out the same content or a substantially similar one to multiple accounts. In addition, they shouldn’t allow people to use several accounts to like or retweet a post and to follow a user all at the same time. To prevent bot tweets from going viral, Twitter is also banning apps that can be used to post identical content with a specific hashtag across multiple accounts. Users aren’t allowed to post multiple updates to a trending topic with the intent of inflating its prominence, as well.
The platform is updating Tweetdeck to reflect the new guidance and to show that it’s serious in implementing its rules. Tweetdeck users will no longer be able to bulk tweet, retweet, like or follow using several accounts at the same time. Back in January, Buzzfeedshed light on a practice called “tweetdecking,” wherein users tweet out content across multiple popular accounts added to their Tweetdeck in exchange for payment. Ever seen several famous Twitter accounts tweet the exact same thing? That’s the result of tweetdecking. This update will make it harder to use the dashboard as a tool for their moneymaking scheme and will hopefully prevent the same tweet from appearing on your timeline again and again and again.