Twitter cracks down on bots with policy changes and mass purge

TwitterTwitter has made changes to it API as it begins to crack down on bots in a big way, as part of a move that has seen thousands upon thousands of fake accounts purged from the platform.

The changes mean third-party services will now no longer be able to allow users to to post identical or ‘substantially similar’ content to multiple accounts – regardless of if they are published at the same time or scheduled apart – and no longer allow users to perform simultaneous likes, retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.

Furthermore, Twitter has made changes to TweetDeck’s multiple account functionality. The changes to the microblogging site’s dashboard application mean users will no longer be able to use multiple accounts to tweet, retweet, like, or follow at the same time.

“These changes are an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter — including elections in the United States and around the world,” said Yoel Roth, head of API policy and product trust at Twitter, in a blog post.

To go along with the changes to policy, Twitter performed a mass purge to rid its platform of a range of suspected bots. This caused right-wing Twitter users to believe they were being targeted, even though purges were occurring all over Twitter without any political bias. The purge also saw some legitimate users have their accounts temporarily suspended until they could prove their identities.