Twitter is getting serious about its bot problem.
Hours after a massive bot purge that prompted the #TwitterLockOut hashtag to trend, the company is announcing new rules for developers meant to prevent bots from using third-party apps to spread spam.
According to the new rules, developers that use Twitter’s API will no longer be able to let users:
Simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.
Simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts
Use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as Likes or Retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app (whether or not you created or directly control those accounts) is not permitted
Developers have one month to make the required changes. Twitter says it’s already updated TweetDeck to reflect the new rules.
The new rules, which come in the wake of a larger spam and bot crackdown, are meant to prevent many of common tactics that bots use to, say, make a hashtag trend or spread spam. The changes will also affect many publishers who use third-party tools to schedule similar tweets across multiple accounts at once.
But it’s a tradeoff Twitter obviously feels is well-worth it, considering the criticism its faced over not doing enough to prevent bots from spreading spam and misinformation on the platform.
The company does note one exception to the rules, though, and that’s in cases of emergencies when alerts are of “of broad community interest,” such as weather-related warnings or public service announcements.