If you’ve been paying attention, you might have noticed that sometimes, people use Twitter for not-so-nice reasons.
Reasons like spamming hashtags, creating fake profiles, or, you know, trying to destabilize the democratic process in other countries.
(Little stuff like that.)
Twitter has noticed, too, which is why in February 2018, they announced a few policy changes meant to prevent the types of behaviors that hurt the overall user experience.
Part of that means cracking down on bots, so users don’t have to contend with so many fraudulent accounts in their timelines and mentions.
Another part has meant placing some new limitations on what users can do using schedulers and automation tools – so if you’ve ever scheduled a Tweet, this is something you want to know about!
Here at MeetEdgar, we want to encourage a user experience that’s in line with Twitter’s Terms of Service, so in the coming weeks, we’ll be introducing a few adjustments that prevent the sorts of actions that could get you in trouble on Twitter.
(Because even if Twitter’s TOS changes weren’t made to stop you from doing what you’re doing, sticking to the rules is usually a pretty good idea anyway.)
So, what’s changing in Twitter’s TOS, and how does it affect you?
Let’s take a closer look at the updates!
When you manage more than one Twitter account, it can make a lot of sense to share certain Tweets on both!
A place like The New York Times, for example, might write a single Tweet that it can use for several of the different Twitter accounts it manages:
Nothing too controversial about that, right?
Unfortunately, scheduling the same Tweet to go out on multiple accounts can also be a little, well, shady.
For example, a business owner who wants to make it seem like they have a lot of fans might whip up a few hundred fake accounts, write a single promotional Tweet, then send it out using all of them:
And that’s a pretty modest example!
Imagine thousands of phony profiles based in your hometown, for example, all tweeting using the same hashtag and fooling Twitter into promoting that hashtag in your trending topics. When one person or group is able to send the same message to multiple accounts all at once, it can seriously disrupt the free flow of information!
That’s why Twitter is taking that ability away.
Twitter has issued a clear directive to scheduling tools: “your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control from which to publish a given Tweet.”
(So if your scheduling tool of choice has allowed you to do that in the past, it won’t in the future – not if it abides by Twitter’s TOS.)
Starting in March 2018, for example, Edgar will no longer allow a single social update to be associated with more than one Twitter account. Users will still be able to associate an individual update with multiple Facebook or LinkedIn accounts, but in accordance with Twitter’s TOS, it will only be assignable to one Twitter account at a time.
Will we miss the good old days of scheduling a single piece of content for as many Twitter accounts as we want?
But at the same time, this change to Twitter’s TOS should make the network a lot more useful for everyone in the long run – because honestly, less spam and fewer bots are pretty good things to work toward.
Speaking of making Twitter more useful, there are more changes in the pipeline!
Changes to things like…
In the past, some tools have given users the option of performing a single type of action, like retweeting or following, from multiple accounts.
Now, however, Twitter is putting a stop to it.
As per their TOS changes: “Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.”
Kind of like the other change we already described, it’s pretty easy to imagine how this sort of ability could be taken advantage of – or even abused.
Imagine a business owner who retweets one of their company’s Tweets from hundreds of fake accounts all at once, or a social media manager who uses fake accounts to like a client’s Tweets and artificially inflate their engagement rates!
These aren’t things that the average marketer or entrepreneur are probably doing, but Twitter wants to keep it under control.
If you’re using a tool that allows you to do things like select multiple Twitter accounts you manage and perform the same action from all of those accounts at once, that ability will soon be in violation of Twitter’s TOS – so be careful!
Finally, there’s one more big change to Twitter’s rules for you to keep an eye on…
Until recently, the limits of what Twitter considers spammy behavior have tended to exist in a sort of gray area – but with Twitter’s recent updates to their TOS, that area just got a whole lot less gray.
In the past, actions like recycling your Tweets by posting them again and again over time have been considered problematic only in excess, like a user posting the same Tweet every couple of minutes. By comparison, posting the same Tweet that you posted a day, a week, or a month ago has generally been considered fair game – even to the extent that major brands and media companies have made it a staple of their content strategies.
But that won’t be the case for long.
Twitter is significantly increasing its existing limitations on recycling Tweets – a decision that will ultimately curb a lot of spammy and abusive behavior, even if it also means a shift in how marketers plan and share their content.
While Twitter’s February 2018 blog post uses some language focusing on users who post identical content to multiple accounts of their own (like we talked about earlier in this post), it also explicitly places these rules in the context of both its general policies and its automation-specific ones.
So, what do Twitter’s policies have to say about recycling your content these days?
Here’s one behavior that may get you flagged for spamming, from the Twitter rules:
“If you post duplicative or substantially similar content, replies, or mentions over multiple accounts or multiple duplicate updates on one account, or create duplicate or substantially similar accounts.”
(Take special note of that “multiple duplicate updates on one account” part.)
And from Twitter’s automation rules:
“You may not post duplicative or substantially similar Tweets on one account or over multiple accounts you operate.”
Long story short?
Whether you recycle your Tweets across multiple Twitter accounts or on just one, it’s officially against the rules – and Twitter is now enforcing those rules more strictly than ever.
Moving forward, it means you should expect scheduling tools that have allowed for automated content recycling to no longer offer that service for Twitter accounts. Continuing to allow that service for Twitter wouldn’t just encourage those tools’ users to perform TOS-violating actions that could get their Twitter accounts suspended – it would also be in direct violation of Twitter’s rules for scheduling tools themselves!
(So basically, it would be bad for everyone involved to even offer that option.)
That said, it also means you can be on the lookout for tools offering new and exciting options for scheduling Twitter content in response to these changes!
Here at MeetEdgar, for example, we’re building a brand new (and super fast) way to add Tweets to your library of status updates, so you can easily load up a bunch of content all at once – we’ll get into the details when that new feature is ready to launch, so keep your eyes peeled!
Ultimately, Twitter’s anti-spam efforts mean that content recycling isn’t in that network’s future – but some pretty exciting alternatives can take its place!
Do you think it makes sense for Twitter to prohibit users from posting identical content to multiple accounts?
Or from recycling content on just one account?
Are they casting too wide of a net in their efforts to stop spam, or do you think it’ll all make Twitter a better place in the end?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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