Twitter begins mass bot removal

Twitter begins mass bot removal
“We are committed to building trust and encouraging healthy conversation”, Twitter announced as they revealed they are removing millions of locked accounts from the platform.

What is a locked account?

A locked account is one that “appears to have exhibited automated behaviour that violets Twitter Rules”. In a series of tweets, Twitter explained: “When we see sudden changes in behaviour, we lock accounts. We reach out to the owners of the accounts and unless they validate the account and reset their passwords, we keep them locked with no ability to log in.” If the locked account is found not to have been created by a real person, it is deemed a “Twitter bot”, aka a fake account that is not run by a human user.

What should you do if your account gets locked?

If your account gets locked, don’t panic about your account being removed. Twitter will give you a reasonable amount of time to verify via email that your account does in fact belong to a genuine human.

What’s the point in a bot?

Twitter bots are used to boost people’s following, engagement and web traffic, as well as potentially spread malware. This type of account is often utilised by companies - Devumi, to name one example - that sell Twitter followers and retweets for profit. Bots can be used to spread harmful spam across Twitter - from viruses to fake news - as well as blur metrics to create a false yet increased amount of traffic and engagement. This automation enhances the chances of particular content appearing on regular users’ timelines. Ironically, bots also boost credibility – think of it this way, if someone has thousands of followers, they instantly feel more reliable, right? Even though 90% of these followers, unbeknownst to you, are not actually real people.

Why is Twitter removing bots now?

A recent study by Pew Research Center found that two-thirds of all tweeted links were shared by suspected bots. When you consider the huge rise in the spreading of fake news, and the recent reservations surrounding social media, it is no wonder Twitter is now explicitly acting against locked accounts. In fact, suspected bots accounted for 66% of the links on Twitter that drove people to news and current events websites. Now that social networks are becoming increasingly under the microscope – particularly after the allegations about Russia and Donald Trump – it is up to the likes of Facebook and Twitter to become more transparent and responsible.

What effect will the removal of Twitter bots have on the platform?

Twitter suspended more than 70 million accounts in May and June, according to The Washington Post. You may notice less suspicious-looking accounts on your timeline and a potential drop in your follower-count. Donald Trump and Justin Bieber, for example, have lost 300,000 and 2.6 million followers respectively. “One of the most important parts of our focus on improving the health of conversations on Twitter is ensuring people have access to credible, relevant, and high-quality information on Twitter,” writes head of Twitter’s Platform Policy Yoel Ruth and Twitter’s VP of Trust and Safety Del Harvey in a recent blog. Twitter’s recent purge on locked and bot accounts should improve the overall user experience and accountability of the platform, with reports of spam and malicious behaviour appearing to be down. However, if reports from January 2018 are correct in their assertions that 15% of Twitters userbase are bots, it could spark a worry for investors, with active users forming a large part of the business’s overall value. To ensure your Twitter account remains secure, follow the steps listed in Twitter’s Best Practices. Oliver Wilkinson Content Marketing Exec Knapton Wright
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