Twitter purges accounts behind artificially viral tweets

Jon Fingas
Twitter purges accounts behind artificially viral tweets

If you've used Twitter for long enough, you've probably seen someone retweet a truism or obviously plagiarized quote from accounts that are clearly trying to force their tweets to go viral. You won't have to put up with some of those accounts from now on, though. Twitter has suspended a horde of accounts notorious for mass-retweeting each other's posts (some of which were stolen), including Common White Girl, Dory and Finah. The purge came weeks after Twitter removed the ability to retweet posts across multiple accounts in Tweetdeck, neutering the ability of these faux viral peddlers (known as "tweetdeckers") to spread each others' messages without resorting to third-party clients or asking for retweets.

It's not certain if the suspensions are permanent. Twitter has so far declined to comment on individual suspensions, but Engadget has learned that the accounts were suspended for violating spam policies that forbid mass duplication and impersonation. Even if their accounts are restored, then, they couldn't resume their behavior without facing a tougher penalty.

The move won't completely eliminate this sort of behavior, which (as always) is fueled by money: customers pay for retweets knowing that legions of people will see them. The accounts targeted in this new crackdown have millions of followers, mind you, and their absences will be felt. That's likely no coincidence. Twitter is under pressure to eliminate coordinated spamming of all kinds, whether it comes from Russian bots or tweetdeckers, and not just for political reasons. The social network is still struggling to add users despite turning its first profit, and junk accounts are part of the problem. You might be more likely to stick around if you see more genuine interactions instead of the same few accounts cluttering your timeline.

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  • This article originally appeared on Engadget.