In a move that many see as long overdue, Twitter has initiated a crackdown against bots by making changes to its application programming interface (API) that will impact services that allow advertisers and agencies to share content across multiple accounts.
In the announcement by Yoel Roth, the head of API policy at Twitter, the changes were positioned as an important step towards ensuring that non-public service announcements are wary of malicious activity, the likes of which take place on Twitter.
“As a sole exception to this rule, applications that broadcast or share weather, emergency, or other public service announcements of broad community interest (for example, earthquake or tsunami alerts) are permitted to post this content across multiple accounts who have authorized an app,” wrote Roth.
For advertisers and agencies that rely on content distribution services that control several hundred accounts for the purposes of retweeting and liking tweets, this is a problem. However, such business have until the 23rd of March to make the changes that will comply with the new policy.
Meanwhile, many Twitter users have been complaining about the loss of followers or about their accounts being temporarily suspended using the hashtags #TwitterLockout or #TwitterPurge.
Services like Twitter Audit can estimate what percentage of an account's followers are fake.