Twitter has made changes to its rules to stop the platform from being used for the artificial inflation of retweets.
Making the announcement on the company’s blog, Twitter voiced its committed to keeping the social media platform safe and free from spam. The use of more than one Twitter account to retweet particular messages is considered as spam.
Moreover, in most cases, automation appears to have been employed by such actors and this will also be put to an end now, Twitter stated.
The new rules are part of a series of initiative saiming to enhance the quality of the platform across several vectors.
This comes after Twitter was subject to a congressional probe into Russia’s influence on the U.S. presidential election in 2016, when numerous Russia-linked bots covered Twitter and other social networks with propaganda and misinformation about the election contenders. Many of those accounts were purportedly run by operatives of the Russian state.
In January of this year, Twitter released a review that counted more than 50,000 Russia-linked accounts tweeting about the election.
Of that figure, nearly 4,000 accounts were associated with the Russian state. In line with this acknowledgement, Twitter announced that it would be aggressively enforcing its stated commitment to keep the platform safe, secure and free of any abuse from malicious actors.
The new changes to the rules regarding automation and retweets from multiple accounts are the latest enforcement enacted by Twitter as part of this initiative.
The Twitter rules have been altered to make sure these new regulations are adhered to by subscribers. According to the formal announcement on Twitter’s blog, the new additions include:
- Don’t post or let your users post similar content to multiple Twitter accounts you manage.
- Don’t retweet, like and follow your own account from multiple Twitter accounts and don’t permit your users to do this.
- Any sort of automation which is used to tweet the same or similar content over and over again is strictly prohibited. This also includes scheduling posts to be tweeted automatically at regular time intervals.
- People who have been using TweetDeck are not allowed to tweet to multiple accounts anymore. This would restrict them from performing actions like tweeting, retweeting, liking or following.
Detailed Explanations and Examples Given
Twitter has gone on to provide detailed explanations with examples to make the point in each case, so that the users cannot misuse the provisions in any manner.
For example, the new automation rules do not permit simultaneous retweets in high volumes. People using multiple Twitter accounts will also be strictly monitored and if any one single entity is trying to use multiple accounts to retweet with the intention of creating a false impression that the topic is highly trending, this would also be treated as spam and is prohibited according to the new Twitter rules.
Limitations on Automatic Retweets
On the automation issue, Twitter acknowledges that there are genuine cases, like issuing weather alerts, where automatic tweeting is pre-set.
Under these circumstances, the new Twitter rules mandate that such tweets can only be retweeted on one other account controlled by the originator of the tweet.
Again, where there are natural calamities or disasters, Twitter will allow exemptions so that the dissemination of information is not hampered or delayed.
TweetDeck Use Also Under Scrutiny
The new Twitter rules have covered the use of the TweetDeck platform as well. As it stands now, there are users who employ TweetDeck to simultaneously broadcast their messages to multiple recipients to tweet or retweet, or to like certain tweets.
These entities, whether they have an app to do these actions or other means, will now have to make suitable changes in their app or service to ensure it complies with the new Twitter rules quoted above. Twitter has permitted them until March 23 to carry out these changes.
The blog post makes it very clear that if the users fail to adhere to these rules, then the social media site may resort to suspending the offending account or app.
What Exactly Constitutes Spam?
Twitter has also made it very clear what kind of tweets will be permitted and what will not be.
Multiple tweets with the exact repetition of a particular message—or even a different wording but conveying the same meaning or message—will also not be permitted.
In Twitter’s own words, the following is the current enunciated policy:
- Frequently tweeting very similar looking information from a few different accounts controlled by a particular user or creating multiple accounts that closely resemble each other are not allowed.
- Tweeting (either from single or multiple accounts) more than once on a particular topic which is trending, in order to manipulate the use of hashtag and gain better rankings, is strictly prohibited.