Twitter Release Updates to Its Developer Rules As A Way to Crack Down Bots

Twitter is taking its bot problem seriously.

Hours following a massive bot purge that provoked the hashtag, #TwitterLockOut, to trend, the company is announcing some new rules for developers that are meant to prevent bots from making use of third-party apps to spread spam.

According to Twitter’s new rules, developers that make use of the API of Twitter will no longer be able to allow users to:

  • Use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post substantially similar or identical content, or to perform actions including Retweets or Likes, across many accounts that have authorised your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not allowed
  • Simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts
  • Simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts

Developers only have a month to perform the required changes. Twitter says that it has already updated TweetDeck to adopt the new rules.

The said new rules, which arrive in the wake of a more comprehensive crackdown on spams and bots, are intended to prevent many of the common tactics that bots are used to, say, spread spam or make a hashtag trend. The said changes will also affect many publishers who make use of third-party tools in order to schedule similar tweets across various accounts at once.

However, it is a tradeoff that Twitter obviously feels is well worth it, considering the criticism that it has faced over not doing enough to stop bots from spreading misinformation and spam on the social media platform.

The company, however, notes one exception to the rules, and that is in cases of emergencies when the alerts are of “of broad community interest,” such as public service announcements or weather-related warnings.