The Topsy Turvy Reality of This Twitter Policy Change-Up


What a week it’s been in social media marketing land! While you were distracted by the goings-on at Facebook, Twitter (albeit not for unrelated reasons) has been busy updating its policy and making changes to its algorithm

The changes are part of Twitter’s Information Quality improvement efforts, which have in the past included things like its Quality Filter. The new updates aim to reduce spam by flagging tweets posted across multiple accounts.

Why is this? This kind of coordinated posting has been used to either disseminate spam or disinformation or to amplify the prominence of particular tweets or accounts.

And of course, by marketers, who use Twitter for good, not evil. That’s right. The bad behavior of a few is ruining it for the rest of us. Hmph. 

Here’s what you need to know when the changes go into effect on March 23.

The changes in a nutshell

According to Twitter’s post, the new regulations prohibit users from:

  • Posting the same tweet or a (“substantially similar tweet”) from multiple accounts. Importantly, this applies whether the tweets are scheduled simultaneously or go out at different times.
  • Simultaneously liking, retweeting or following the same post(s) or user(s) from multiple accounts.
  • Using automation to post the same content or perform actions like retweeting and favoriting. This means you can’t artificially try to make a hashtag trend, for example. 

Some folks are freaking out because they’re saying you can’t ever have the same tweet go out to the same account, like ever. But the new rules are a bit vague and for now, it seems that it only affects multiple accounts delivering the same tweet from the same API a la scheduler. But time will tell…

You may still retweet from one account using other accounts, as well as retweet evergreen content from an account, but not in a “bulk” or spammy way. However, exactly what this means Twitter hasn’t made clear. Err on the side of caution, just in case. 

It’s also unclear what a “substantially similar tweet” is. Until we have more clarity on what this means, don’t just try to get away with changing an emoji or swapping out synonyms. Create all-new tweets for each account and avoid the risk of penalization. 

Note that all changes go into effect on March 23. If you have simultaneous posts scheduled, it’s time to cancel and rework them!

What this means for marketers

Just say no to spam, folks. Social networks have been moving towards authenticity and “human” approaches for a while now. If you’ve been following our advice on best practices, you shouldn’t have to change too much. 

Think of the new changes as a reminder to be less bot-like and more people-like in your interactions. stellapop-click-to-tweet Ideally, all of your accounts have their own personalities anyway, so individual, “bespoke” tweeting will help you stay on brand by requiring you to channel a given account’s personality.

There will be a learning curve, especially for those of us who rely on scheduling tools like Hootsuite, SmarterQueue, Edgar, and Tweetdeck – tools that will most likely change and adapt to these changes. (SmarterQueue is already on it.)

Sure, it’ll take longer to get your tweets loaded and ready to go, but the end result will be better quality content, and higher engagement. 

It may take a little while, but with less noise to cut through, we may just find that this is good news for our social media marketing efforts. Here’s to less spam and better tweeting for all!

Check out how we’re adapting to the changes — Follow StellaPop on Twitter! 


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