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Stealing tweets no more; Twitter just suspended multiple accounts for 'tweetdecking'

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 12 March 2018, 17:28 IST
(Getty Images)

The purge is upon us. Twitter, as a part of a massive crackdown on spam, has suspended multiple accounts that participate in 'tweetdecking'. They've been purged for gaming the system. Essentially, this is the process of stealing content, amplifying it, and making it go viral. All this without giving credit. This comes on the heels of Twitter announcing new rules on users, apps and automation of tweets. Back then, Twitter banned bulk tweeting and duplicate accounts. It was known as the bot crackdown.

BuzzFeed News reported that popular accounts including @SoDamnTrue, @Dory, @CommonWhiteGirl and @memeprovide, that amassed millions of follows, have now been silenced by the social network, on Friday, 10 March.

Tweetdecking gets its name from the popular, third-party application, Tweetdeck. This involved curating stolen content via Tweetdeck, the platform that allows users to simultaneously tweet and/or retweet the same content from multiple accounts. All these accounts would get together and retweet each other's content and help it gain a massive amount of 'likes' and 'retweets' and go viral.

Those involved formed several secret Tweetdeck groups, which are simply called "decks". Getting an invite to one of these secret clubs isn't easy.

TweetDeck has updated its terms of use to comply with new anti-spam rules. "Users of TweetDeck will no longer be able to select multiple accounts through which to perform an action such as Tweeting, Retweeting, liking, or following."

Once this system of 'tweetdecking' became popular, Twitter users and brands, paid these administrators, for access. BuzzFeed reports that a retweet from the members of these groups would cost anywhere from $5-$10 and there were weekly and monthly subscriptions.

What we don't know yet is whether or not the suspensions are permanent. Twitter has not issued an official statement on this. According to some reports, the accounts were suspended for violating spam policies. Specifically for the policies that forbid "mass duplication and impersonation".

"Many of these accounts were hugely popular, with hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers," reported BuzzFeed. "In addition to stealing people's tweets without credit, some of these accounts are known as "tweetdeckers" due to their practice of teaming up in exclusive Tweetdeck groups and mass-retweeting one another's -- and paying customers' -- tweets into forced virality."

Twitter has been under pressure as of late to eliminate what is known as coordinate spamming. It could be Russian bots or even the tweetdeckers. No more though. From now on, there is hope that there will be more 'genuine' interactions on the social network.

First published: 12 March 2018, 17:28 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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