Twitter made substantial changes today that will greatly impact social media managers who oversee multiple accounts and use automation apps to manage their Twitter activity.
The site announced it is no longer permitting identical — or even substantially similar — content to be simultaneously posted from multiple accounts.
It is also eliminating the ability for a user to simultaneously “Like” or “Retweet” a post or “Follow” an account from multiple accounts. This means that users of automation platforms like TweetDeck can no longer select multiple accounts to automate posts, tweets, retweets, likes or follows.
The steps are part of Twitter’s ongoing battle to reduce the amount of spam and bot activity currently taking place on the site.
“One of the most common spam violations we see is the use of multiple accounts and the Twitter developer platform to attempt to artificially amplify or inflate the prominence of certain Tweets,” writes Yoel Roth on the Twitter blog.
Yoel writes that these changes are “important steps” to make sure the site is doing what it can to reduce the amount of malicious activity targeting conversations taking place on Twitter and specifically calls out the US elections.
Here are the three specific policy updates Twitter has outlined around automation and the use of multiple accounts on its site:
- Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.
- Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts. For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control to follow a specified account.
- 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.
The one exception to these changes involves accounts that post weather, emergency or public service announcements. Twitter says users with authorized apps will be permitted to post public safety-related announcements simultaneously from multiple accounts.
Instead of posting identical content to multiple accounts, Twitter recommends creating a tweet from one account and then retweeting the content from another account. (But even this isn’t even a fail-safe solution, since Twitter notes that this action should only be conducted from “a small number” of distinct accounts.)
Twitter says that any app or service that allows Twitter users to perform simultaneous actions from multiple accounts must be in compliance with the policy updates by March 23, 2018. Failure to comply may result in an enforcement action, with the possibility of suspension of the applications and accounts that break the rules.