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Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

The Twitter Rules Change to Target “More Followers Fast”

In Twitter on October 16, 2009 at 12:08 pm

On Oct 15, Twitter added a paragraph to”The Twitter Rules” page, in the “Spam and Abuse” section.

The list of factors that Twitter takes into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming now includes:

Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising “more followers fast,” or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

This was posted on Oct 15, though the official date on the “The Twitter Rules” has not been changed.

The update comes a day after an article was (re?)submitted at Twitter’s help section, Following Limits and Best Practices. The new article discusses things like “aggressive follow churn” and using third party applications.

Note the mention of “follower trains”. Lately, Twitter is facing a real problem with “pyramid”, “train” and/or MLM-type networks. Think web 1.0 banner-sharing networks on Social-Web steroids. A few require payment for participation – in classic pyramid style – and promise a revenue from second, third tiers, etc., with or without any real service being delivered.

This should be a nightmare to Twitter system architects – forget the liability, think server load. Just like email spam, the prolification of Twitter spam goes beyond downgrading the user experience. It taxes the system resources and renders it more vulnerable to attack. Recently, Twitter has in fact been experiencing issues. TechcrunchIT’s Nik Cubrilovic recently noted inĀ  Twitter Should Decentralize (if down, look here):

The big problem with Twitter is asymmetric following without limitations on the number of connections, which means that a single account can theoretically have a number of followers limited only by the total number of Twitter users.

and suggesting a limit on scale:

Others, like Facebook, limit the connections to 5,000 as well. But Twitter has no limits on complexity. And since they are a centralized, bottlenecked system, it is both hard to scale and easy to attack.

The newly submitted Twitter policy article does mention a 2000 follower limit – accounts with more than 2000 are still allowed, but are subject to closer scrutiny.

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