Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

Twitter's new rules crack down on spambots

Twitter's new rules crack down on spambots

"Today's update to TweetDeck and our developer platform is an important change to ensure we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting conversations on Twitter".

Researchers say as many as 15 percent of users could be fake, a number Twitter says is much lower. While the list is substantial, it can be summarised as below. 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.

Apps can still cross-post alerts from other services (like RSS readers) to Twitter, but only to a single account.

The new policy also forbids liking or retweeting messages through multiple accounts at the same time. The company says that the changes will be effective immediately on Twitter and TweetDeck, while third-party applications will have time till March 23, 2018, to make changes to comply with the new rules.

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It's common knowledge that the site has become the breeding ground for bots or "computational propaganda", as coined by the University of Oxford's internet watchdog division, since the 2016 US Presidential Elections and the Brexit debate.

On Wednesday, #TwitterLockOut was trending on Twitter as many right-wing pundits, supporters of President Donald Trump and conservative influencers argued they're being targeted by the site. "As part of our ongoing work in safety, we identify suspicious account behaviors that indicate automated activity or violations of our policies around having multiple accounts, or abuse".

The crackdown is part of an effort to weed out automated and fake accounts, a move which rankled some conservative personalities.

Yesterday, some of the Twitter's users faced login issues.

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Already there has been some controversy after the social network removed large numbers of suspected bot accounts from its service this week.

Twitter would not reveal how many accounts had been purged.

"If I control a whole bunch of accounts, forcing me to confirm with the phone can create a significant challenge because sometimes these accounts are created with throwaway numbers", he said.

Russia-linked social media manipulation has been under particular scrutiny recently after the Federal Bureau of Investigation indicted 13 alleged members of the Internet Research Agency last week, and bots allegedly promoted discord after the shooting in Parkland, Florida. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

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