Bulk Unfollow – Why You Shouldn't and Why We Don't Offer It

A feature that many of our users request is the ability to bulk unfollow friends. We want to clarify here why you should not do it on your Twitter account, and why we do not offer that feature.

The rationale for the feature usually goes like this:

I want to follow a number of people and wait a few days to see who follow me back. Then I want to get rid of those who didn’t. This way I can remain within the Twitter following limits while still being able to follow new people. Then, each time I can wait for them to follow me back, bulk unfollow those who didn’t, and rinse and repeat. This is a great way to build a follower list.

Service X and service Y are doing it, so why can’t you guys also add it? It will be really nice, and if you add it I will definitely upgrade to Professional. Thanks.

It sounds like a reasonable request, doesn’t it? Except, there’s one problem with it.

Twitter hates it and calls it “following churn”.

In the Twitter rules they do reference following churn as an undesirable activity, but it is only on their Business for Twitter site that they more clearly reveal how they define following churn.

We quote:

To make sure you’re not spamming folks, we also suggest you avoid the following:

Following churn: Following and unfollowing the same people repeatedly, as well as following and unfollowing those who don’t follow back, are both violations of our terms of service.

In other words, Twitter will suspend your account if you do bulk unfollow.

There’s no “safe” way to do bulk unfollow. It’s like an on-off switch. Either you do bulk unfollow or you don’t. And if you do, you will get into trouble.

That’s the reason why we have not added bulk unfollow as a feature to TweetLater, and why we believe you should not do it on your Twitter account.

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17 thoughts on “Bulk Unfollow – Why You Shouldn't and Why We Don't Offer It

  1. Rachel Alderman

    This article was very helpful! Plus, another reason not to use those sites, i tried one and my account went haywire! first it deleted everyone i was following, so they started unfollowing me, then they deleted all my followers! Its finally back in order but beware. Take a tip from tweetlater and dont try these sites!

  2. InvestorsClassifieds

    If this is true, When/How will people get over the 2000 threshold? If you reach your limit of 2000 and only 1900 follow you back how long are you to wait for the followers to catch up? It could take months! And what determines “Bulk 10, 200, 1000?”. Bulk Un-Following is needed and necessary to grow your followers.Just my $.02-Ken

  3. docmagi

    Good points but not quite as accurate as written. Twitter does not say do not unfollow people and they have set guidelines and systems to check for aggressive churn. According to twitter tech support they recommend you follow only 200 people a day and that you do not unfollow more than 400 people a day. I have found that it is better to keep both around 200 to prevent any flags from popping up your account from being suspended for a minimum of 30 days. I had an account go through that process last month so I am pretty aware of what can happen when you get flagged. The issue with any automated system is that it can go wrong and screw up all the hard work you have done to build your account. There are many things that can do it besides just the churn. Having people put you on a block listing because you send them an automatic dm when they follow you that is just selling them something or not personal can suspend your account as well. Not updating your posts and having just links can get your account suspended. So in the end if you do not want to create a system that unfollows then that is your choice. Do not pretend it is because it is against twitter TOS though because it can be done and really is not. Just excessive churn which the key word is excessive. I do not believe anyone should just blindly use any system to do this though because like all systems if they make a mistake you are accountable. I use a manual program that automates the process and I watch it to make sure I stay under the limits and flags to keep my account growing. Have a great day and thanks for the post.Dr. Michael HoltMagi Institute of Natural Medicinehttp://www.docmagi.com

  4. Stan Carter Jr.

    Your absolutely correct! I used bulk unfollowing and eventually I did get into trouble. Twitter started “Unfollowing” thousands of my followers. In the end, I lost over 4,000 followers. Well, I did not get suspended at least, but my account would not work with certain twitter applications like twitalyzer and others as a result. The lesson is to be careful with many of the autofollow twitter apps. Tweetlater's autofollow program is safe because it's a follow back program. It is best to manually unfollow. All the best!!

  5. scottcarter

    Thanks for the heads up, it is nice to know that someone is watching out for folks that don't always read the fine print. Good info, again Thank You!

  6. johnchablo

    Thanks for the advice! I must admit that I too was looking for a tool like this, but will manually manage account now.

  7. Joshua

    The whole issue appears to be artificial. The only way to follow more people is to increase your account followers. But, what can you do in order to increase your followers if you are stuck at one of the Twitter thresholds without dumping a lot of people who aren't following you? Why don't you write up a follow on article with that as the focus? I would love to know your thoughts…

  8. Bryan Longworth

    Some services out their provide bulk unfollowing which I have done several times without problem, and I am approaching 10,000 followers. You could however configure your program to periodically unfollow a few people who don't follow back. Users could set limits (how many each time/day), percentages, and days to wait before unfollowing, etc. If you guys provided this, I would switch to your pro version in a heartbeat.

  9. Rio Carrera

    Regardless of the clarity of the debated option, the madness so many have had with getting as many followers quickly and then with the dissatisfaction that you are not being immediately followed, leaves you with no ability to choose and pick with valid interest and genuine desire or distaste. That is what makes this application on the internet lose it's novelty. I URGE all human beings who are REALLY tweeting on Twitter, to stand out and express, represent and influence others to be a real person behind those tweets, and IF it's so necessary to MARKET yourself, then NETWORK with sincere presence. Twitter has the potential to positively infect a global generation with UNITY. I believe this may be a reason they would ban an account in the first place. I am not speaking for them but this is my impression after two plus years being on Twitter. It's more than a FACEBOOK platform which can become cluttered and overwhelming, but TWITTER is NOW, and if someone doesn't follow you outright doesn't mean they aren't watching. I am watching those that follow me, but maybe there is something I am waiting for them to say or do to warrant, the response back that attracted them to me. It's not always about following. There are so many other things one can do when someone tweets a really great tweet. Like placing a favorite STAR on that tweet, even tho you don't want to follow that Twitterer. I am ECSTATIC that there is no BULK unfollow to count the MAD uber-follow Twitter options out there. If you need to unfollow do it quietly and with any fanfare like when chose to follow. It is more about seeing what IS going on right now, and it can be about being in contact with people that you might never meet in every day life cause you don't like in L.A. or N.Y.C. It's an amazing little thing that has put my very thoughts and expression out there to the exact people I want to talk to or say things to, whether they be Celebrities, Family, Sexual Interests, Political Influences and complete strangers with similarities.

  10. George

    I can concur with the good advice about follow/ unfollow. Learned the hard way twice before i even knew my mistakes. Even without all that automated stuff and 2 suspensions of all my accounts; i built up over 16000+ total followers on 3 accounts in 4 months or less. Tweetlater has been my only automation of twitter, and i change my messages regularly; about every 3 to 5 days.

  11. Nathaniel Johnson

    Though it is frustrating, it is true. You don't want to be bulk unfollowing as it is putting up a white flag saying I am a spammer please ban me.

    There must be a more efficient way to un follow those who just don't want to follow you back.

  12. Jack H

    Great info indeed but I happen to know for sure that you are allowed to bulk unfollow 100 people each 24 hour period. Try it, it is safe.

  13. Money Tips

    Whats the Point of Following People who only want you to follow them back?? Why have 500,000 followers if you have to follow 500,000 twitterers. I mean if you aren't really following 500,000 followers (watching what they say) why the heck would you think that they are?? And does that not defeat the very point??

    At some point isn't it just a way to make you feel good about your fake popularity? Just a thought.

  14. SvB

    You can follow tweeple with good tweets or interesting bio, or nice pictures, or "healthy" number of following/followers (it can be big or small), it will make you be a better human being in the long run.
    Try to make your followers happy, hopefully they will also make you smile. You can also follow bad twitter profiles (spammer, repetitively boring tweets, auto DM, rants, etc) as well just to proof your prejudices & rank/classify them as a personal research subject for future action.
    If people do not follow or DM or read my tweets it was truly their loss because they could solve many personal, life & business problems they face immediately by reading a ALL my profile, tweets, RT & starred tweets.

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