Twitter introduces new daily follow limit to curb spamming. What it means for small business

Written on Apr 15, 2019

With Twitter under immense scrutiny over how it handles a sea of automated bots and human trolls, the social media giant has announced a new policy that could irk users who say they will ‘follow back’ for a follow.

In a tweet sent by the Twitter Safety team, the company said that effective immediately, the daily limit for the number of people you can follow will reduce from 1,000 to 400. It finished its tweet, seemingly aimed at those who subscribe to the “follow back” mantra, by saying: “Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine.”

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Twitter’s head of site integrity, Yoel Roth, said the company decided 400 was “a reasonable limit.”

“We found that nearly half of all accounts who made more than 400 follows per day were churning. That amounted to more than 20m follows each day, and a high rate of blocks and spam reports – a clear signal that inorganic follows are super annoying,” Roth said on Twitter.

Roth also said 99.87% of Twitter users are totally unaffected by this lower rate limit.

The tactic of following a person and unfollowing them has become a popular one in recent years, with the person following a new account hoping that the latter will follow them back. If this happens, it can be common for the original person to then unfollow the second person, thereby inflating the number of followers rather than follows.

The kind of step Twitter is taking is important because many small businesses and professionals rely on the social platform for communications, service, news and even sales and the more credible the platform is, the longer its future life. Making this adjustment makes Twitter more credible.

Twitter’s actions against bots began in March 2018, with the banning of a number of popular accounts over mass-retweeting and spamming using a technique called “tweetdecking.” This saw users join secret TweetDeck groups that had a highly organized system of mass-retweeting, essentially creating viral content out of thin air.

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