Twitter Bots: 3 Benefits to the new Twitter Rules

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

What is a Twitter bot and why did it cause Twitter to change their rules?

Twitter bot is a type of bot software that controls a Twitter account via the Twitter API.[1] The bot software may autonomously perform actions such as tweeting, re-tweeting, liking, following, unfollowing, or direct messaging other accounts. The automation of Twitter accounts is governed by a set of automation rules that outline proper and improper uses of automation.[2] Proper usage includes broadcasting helpful information, automatically generating interesting or creative content, and automatically replying to users via direct message.[3][4][5] Improper usage includes circumventing API rate limits, violating user privacy, or spamming.[6]

Zack Whittaker  states in his article Twitter has a spam bot problem — and it’s getting worse, that a lot of accounts on Twitter is actually fake. These can easily be identified by the garbled usernames and empty profile pictures.

But what is the purpose of these fake accounts?

The most common motive is to artificially promote a website, for example a cheap dating site. Because in this way they can gain from a pay-per-click campaign, or otherwise spam users with links that might redirect to pornographic material.

So, how does this work?

The spammer sets up thousands of fake Twitter accounts, and these then  follow a few dozen high profile celebrities, experts  or influencers. The fake accounts are set up to follow other fake accounts. This process then creates an artificial sense of credibility for these accounts, making it easier for users to click on the shared links.

But the most important reason for Twitter’s new rules, is how fake accounts and spam bots has influenced the 2016 US Elections, by publishing trash posts about the two leading candidates.

So we can see that fake accounts is all about power, influence, propaganda and promoting spam links or hashtags for their own agendas.

Statistics obtained from Twitter’s Great Bot Purge And Can We Really Trust Active User Numbers? and As many as 48 million Twitter accounts aren’t people, says study (201703)
Statistics of Twitter Users and Spambots

In order to solve the Twitter spam bot problem, Twitter has made changes to their rules relating to the posting of duplicate or similar content. This affects posting duplicate or similar content from single accounts as well as multiple accounts. The same apply also to likes, retweets and following of other accounts.  Users are also not allowed to abuse hashtags to manipulate  or influence a trending topic. Non-compliance to this new rules might lead to the suspension of the relating accounts.

The new Twitter rules will force businesses to re-think the way they use Twitter for marketing. The implication is that they will now have to continuously  create new tweets and content, as opposed to retweeting the same content, regardless if they are using a single or multiple accounts. 

But it is not all gloom and doom. There are also definite benefits to these new rules.
1. Improved visibility – If there is less spam, there is a better chance for quality content to be seen by your audience.
2. Better Reach – Reach will be optimized because businesses can tweet less often, and rather take time to do research in order to improve the quality of their content.
3. Optimal Engagement – Better quality content will lead to better customer engagement and interaction.

Ultimately, the Twitter rules aims to encourage good sharing practices in order to create valuable and meaningful interactions for all their users.

Author: Susan

I have gained many years experience in the following during my working career. General Administration Records Management Stock Management I have recently completed a Social Media Marketing Specialization and I am currently busy with the Content Strategy for Professionals Specialization (both with North Western University using the Coursera platform).

Share Your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.