Twitter prohibits bulk posting
As part of Twitter's efforts to stop spam violations on its platform, they have implemented restrictions to TweetDeck and the Twitter API to limit the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts.
These changes are taking effect on March 23rd, 2018. All tweets scheduled to post to more than one account at the same time will be undelivered (won't be sent) after this date.
Taken from Twitter’s original update, these are the three main rules they’re enforcing:
- Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts.
For example, your profile should not permit a user to select several accounts they control from which to publish a given Tweet.
- This applies regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication.
- As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from.
- Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously perform actions such as Likes, Retweets, or follows from multiple accounts.
For example, your profile should not permit a user to select several accounts they control to follow a specified account.
- The 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.
For example, applications that coordinate activity across multiple accounts to simultaneously post Tweets with a specific hashtag (e.g. in an attempt to cause that topic to trend) are prohibited.
Why is Twitter doing this now?
After their careful review of the 2016 U.S. Election, Twitter uncovered that a substantial amount of people were connected to a propaganda effort by a Russian government-linked organization known as the Internet Research Agency.
To eliminate future “malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter”, Twitter has decided to make changes to TweetDeck and Twitter API.
It has been considered best practice to reshare the same links and images to keep up with the short lifespan of each tweet but this technique will soon be obsolete and frowned upon by Twitter.
Our team will be publishing a blog soon on Sendible Insights with the best practices of using Twitter after this change.
Does this mean I won’t be able to schedule the same tweet to more than one account at the time?
Yes. Due to the new restriction being enforced by Twitter, no social media management tool will be able to support this kind of functionality after March 23rd, 2018. Please note that if you have any messages scheduled to multiple Twitter accounts after this date they will be undelivered unless you edit them.
When will Twitter start enforcing this with third parties like Sendible?
On March 23rd, 2018 you will no longer be able to send or schedule social media posts to more than one Twitter account at the same time. This includes Queues, Bulk Uploads, Profile Lists and RSS Auto-Posters.
Will this apply to posts that I’ve already scheduled?
Yes, this will apply to any posts due to being sent to Twitter after the 23rd of March, 2018. We strongly urge you to update these posts as needed now to avoid them being declined and needing to be adjusted to comply with Twitter’s guidelines after this date.
Any posts scheduled to multiple Twitter accounts which have not been updated and are sent out after the 23rd of March, 2019 will not be accepted by Twitter and will appear in the Undelivered section of your dashboard. From here, you can easily edit the original tweets and remove the multiple Twitter profiles that were selected previously. None of your work will be lost.
What can I do now to prepare for this change?
We recommend that you read and acknowledge Twitter Rules which outline that scheduling the same or “substantially similar” content to one or multiple accounts is no longer permitted on their platform.
We also recommend that you take the time to check your publishing calendar now to see if you have any tweets scheduled to more than one account including and after March 23rd. Simply navigate to the Calendar in your dashboard and select the Scheduled view to see your future tweets.
You can use channel filters to choose to see scheduled posts exclusively from Twitter, like so:
If you have any Tweets scheduled to more than one account after this date, please take the time to check and edit them now to reduce the number of undelivered messages.
What does Twitter consider as “similar content”?
We asked Twitter to define what they mean by this and this was their response:
“We are unable to comment on enforcement specifics. But, to avoid enforcement actions we strongly urge you not to post content you believe might run afoul of the policy.”
From this, we have to assume that any messages that include the same/very similar wording, the same image and the same link are likely to be seen as in breach of Twitter’s rules around posting the same post to multiple Twitter channels.
Definition from Twitter’s 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.
What does Twitter consider “a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control” which should be used to retweet posts?
We asked Twitter to define what they mean by this. Their response:
“The accounts RT’ing (retweeting, sharing) content in such circumstances should be linked in a meaningful way to the primary @handle. In most cases, this would only include a few additional accounts beyond the main @handle.”
From this, we have to assume that “being linked in a meaningful way” are Twitter accounts for different franchise locations or that are different branches of the same organisation. You should avoid retweeting messages on mass for accounts that do not interact with each other.
Why are you removing the Twitter Auto-replies and Twitter Auto-retweets Automation apps?
These types of automation apps are now in conflict with Twitter’s Rules:
"The 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."
We are looking for further guidance from Twitter on how we can allow you to post to one Twitter account and retweet that post using Twitter accounts that are “linked in a meaningful way”.
Why can’t I post updates from an RSS Feed to multiple Twitter accounts?
The same rules as scheduling individual messages apply. This is Twitter’s outline:
“While we continue to permit cross-posting outside information (such as weather alerts or RSS feeds) to Twitter using automation, you should only post this content to one account you control.”
The only exception to this rule is:
“Applications that broadcast or share weather, emergency, or other public service announcements of broad community interest (for example, earthquake or tsunami alerts)”.
This means you will need to be quite selective about which Twitter account you post to from an RSS Feed.
Does this mean I can't post messages which are completely different to more than 1 Twitter account at the same time?
No, as long as you're sending unique messages to each Twitter account, even if they are sent out at the same time on the same date, this is fine. This update specifically relates to messages which have the same or similar content being sent to multiple Twitter accounts at the same time.
Twitter’s definition of behaviour considered to be spam:
Spam: You may not use Twitter’s profiles for the purpose of spamming anyone. Spam is generally defined on Twitter as bulk or aggressive activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter or the experience of users on Twitter to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives.
Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming include:
- if you have followed and/or unfollowed a large number of accounts in a short time period, particularly by automated means (aggressive following or follower churn);
- if your Tweets or Direct Messages consist mainly of links shared without commentary;
- if a large number of people have blocked you in response to high volumes of untargeted, unsolicited, or duplicative content or engagements from your account;
- if a large number of spam complaints have been filed against you;
- 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;
- if you post multiple updates to a trending or popular topic with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives;
- if you send large numbers of unsolicited replies or mentions;
- if you add users to lists in a bulk or aggressive manner;
- if you are randomly or aggressively engaging with Tweets (e.g., likes, Retweets, etc.) or users (e.g., following, adding to lists or Moments, etc.) to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives;
- if you repeatedly post other people’s account information as your own (e.g., bio, Tweets, profile URL, etc.);
- if you post misleading, deceptive, or malicious links (e.g., affiliate links, links to malware/clickjacking pages, etc.);
- if you create fake accounts, account interactions, or impressions;
- if you sell, purchase, or attempt to artificially inflate account interactions (such as followers, Retweets, likes, etc.); and
- if you use or promote third-party services or apps that claim to get you more followers, Retweets, or likes (such as follower trains, sites promising "more followers fast", or any other site that offers to automatically add followers or engagements to your account or Tweets).