The fake social media marketplace is now a billion-dollar industry, with many providers, mostly in third world countries, offering ways to artificially boost your numbers with armies of fake profiles and accounts built for purpose.
The bot problem is particularly prevalent on Twitter – as highlighted in a recent report from The New York Times, many Twitter users have paid to inflate their numbers, and have then used those higher audience counts as leverage to help them generate income, framing themselves as ‘influencers’ and people of importance, all through artificial means.
The high profile nature of that investigation seems to have pushed Twitter into action, with the platform announcing a range of new and revised rules around how their platform/s can be used, in order to curb such tactics – here’s what’s been announced.
As announced by Twitter’s Yoel Roth, via a company blog post:
“Keeping Twitter safe and free from spam is a top priority for us. 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. To be clear: Twitter prohibits any attempt to use automation for the purposes of posting or disseminating spam, and such behavior may result in enforcement action.”
To tackle this head on, Twitter’s implementing some new regulations and limitations within their systems and API usage rules.
Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts. For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control from which to publish a given Tweet.
This new rule will seek to restrict re-posting, which is obviously aimed at curbing the above-noted behavior – but will also impact those publishers who have several handles or publish content to several Twitter accounts. Really, that’s not the way Twitter wants their platform to be used anyway, so the restriction makes sense, but it may require a re-think for brands (and individuals) who post to multiple accounts.
So if you are users of automation tools to publish multiple posts to multiple accounts – this is meant for you.