Reports indicate that microblogging service Twitter has suspended users who have been gaming the system. According to Buzzfeed, a number of accounts which boast of followers numbering in the millions between them have been suspended. Among the offenses they are said to be guilty of include stealing tweets and using them without crediting the owners as well as hatching conspiracies to share tweets with others in order to ensure they go viral.
In social media parlance this behavior is referred to as ‘tweetdecking’. This is because such users are known to communicate via private Tweetdeck groups where they make plans of manufacturing virality. Such practices are against the rules on Twitter one of which prohibits spamming behavior. Among other things Twitter’s policy on spam prohibits the posting of content that is duplicative over a number of accounts in order to inflate account interactions artificially.
Tweetdeckers are known to engage in such activities in order to ensure their posts go viral. Some also engage in such behavior in exchange for monetary compensation from third parties. The practice has become lucrative for some users as it earns them thousands of dollars per month.
The suspension of tweetdeckers comes in the wake of Twitter also introducing new rules last month which are aimed at combating spam. This saw numerous bot accounts purged in the company’s efforts to crack down on harassment and propaganda. Some conservative users of Twitter ended up losing followers numbering in the thousands overnight leading them to believe they were being unfairly targeted. At the time Twitter maintained that its actions were apolitical and had identified suspicious account behavior which was an indication of policy violations as well as automated activity.
The actions of Twitter in an effort to prevent violations of its terms of service coincides with an announcement by the chief executive of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, that the microblogging service intends to have every Twitter user verified or authenticated.
“The intention is to open verification to everyone. And to do it in a way that is scalable [so] we’re not in the way and people can verify more facts about themselves and we don’t have to be the judge and imply any bias on our part,” said Dorsey.
Twitter introduced verification in 2009 and at the time it was meant to act as proof that a user was genuine. Later it was possible for users to get verified by submitting information but Twitter suspended this last year in November.