Twitter bans numerous popular accounts for ‘tweetdecking’ offences

12 Mar 2018

Twitter on an iPhone. Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

Twitter is already implementing new rules around mass-retweeting accounts and spam.

Last month, Twitter introduced a number of new rules around how tweets can be automated by apps and individual users, in an attempt to stem the tide of spam and reduce instances of propaganda spread by bots.

The platform has long been plagued with problems relating to bots, spam tweets and theft of tweets by accounts such as ‘@dory’ and ‘@girlposts’, which are known for mass-retweeting and theft from smaller accounts.

Tweetdecking on its way out?

The phenomenon of ‘tweetdecking’ has received a great deal of attention of late. Put simply, people join secret TweetDeck groups that have a highly organised system of mass-retweeting and can essentially create viral content out of thin air. Brands and individuals are known to pay deck owners to retweet one or more of their tweets, with popular decks raking in several thousand dollars per month.

According to a report from BuzzFeed, Twitter has suspended the @dory and @girlposts accounts, among others that are notorious for tweetdecking and stealing content from other users.

In February, the Twitter team said it would remove the ability for third-party platforms such as TweetDeck to like, retweet or post tweets from multiple accounts, making tweetdecking a lot more difficult for those involved in the practice. Under the new rules, accounts must refrain from “bulk, aggressive or very high-volume automated retweeting”.

Bulk tweeting is now much more difficult

Although the rules are specifically geared towards avoiding election propaganda spread by bots, they also affect tweetdeckers. “Posting duplicative or substantially similar content, replies or mentions over multiple accounts you control, or creating duplicate or substantially similar accounts, with or without the use of automation, is never allowed.”

BuzzFeed said that tweetdeckers are now resorting to manually direct messaging requests for a ‘RT 4 RT’.

Although Twitter has suspended many tweetdeckers in the past, this recent slew is on a much larger scale than previous instances. At this point, it is hard to tell whether the suspensions of recent days will be permanent.

Twitter on an iPhone. Image: mrmohock/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects