Category Archives: News

Tightening Twitter Anti-Spam Measures

Duplicate Content

Twitter’s rules state that users are not allowed to use the Twitter API to post “duplicative or substantially similar content”.

Very clear. Or, is it?

What exactly constitutes duplicative or substantially similar content? Is up to 90% similar acceptable? Or is the acceptable level more towards 50% similar? And for what period of time is one not allowed to post a similar tweet? An hour? A day? A week? Never?

Unfortunately Twitter does not provide any of that information. They leave up it to each developer and user of the API to separately try and figure out how to comply with their rules.

At SocialOomph we’ve decided to implement the following rule to discourage duplicate and similar content for Twitter:

At tweet, or a very similar version of that tweet, can be published only once every 48 hours from within your SocialOomph user account.

In other words, if you have three Twitter accounts connected to your user account, you can publish a tweet (or similar version of the tweet) to only one of the Twitter accounts once every 48 hours.

If we find it necessary to amend the rule in the future, we will let you know via another blog post.

We apply the rule just before our system sends the tweet to Twitter for publication. In other words, you will not get a warning or rejection when you schedule the tweet or upload the tweet. You will only see the rejection in the list of updates after the scheduled time of publication passed.

Rejected tweets will not land you in trouble with Twitter, because Twitter would not even know that you tried to publish the tweet. We stop and reject the tweet before it is sent to Twitter.

This rule applies only to tweets that are published by our service directly to your Twitter profile. The rule does not apply to posts that you schedule for Facebook or LinkedIn.

Mentions

We’ve decided to implement a rule to discourage @mention spam.

No @mentions are allowed in a Twitter tweet.

If you have any @mentions in a tweet, we remove the “@” character from all of them, just before we send the tweet to Twitter for publication.

If you want to communicate with a specific person on Twitter, we believe it is better to do so in real-time instead of by means of a scheduled tweet.

This rule applies only to tweets that are published by our service directly to your Twitter profile.

Hashtags

We’ve decided to implement a rule to discourage #hashtag spam.

A maximum of two #hashtags are allowed in a Twitter tweet.

If you have more than two #hashtags in a tweet, we remove the “#” character from the third and subsequent #hashtag(s) in the tweet, just before we send the tweet to Twitter for publication.

This rule applies only to tweets that are published by our service directly to your Twitter profile.

Implementation

These rules will be implemented in full by no later than Wednesday, October 17, 2018.

Dream World

In an ideal dream world, Twitter would have implemented automated abuse prevention rules in their Twitter API, which would have examined each incoming tweet and rejected it if it were unacceptable, for whatever reason, via decisions governed by secret and proprietary rules. Duplicate content (whatever that means)? Reject it. Spamming hashtags (whatever that means)? Reject it.

Instead, here we are and the coffee is cold.

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Removal of Twitter Hashtags (Revised)

With immediate effect we are now removing hashtags from the text of scheduled tweets.

Edited Oct 12: With immediate effect we are now removing all but the first two hashtags from the text of scheduled tweets. Meaning, tweet text can contain a maximum of two hashtags.

Edited Oct 12: The removal takes place at the time of publication, where we remove all “#” characters but the first two hashtags from the tweet text before we submit the text to Twitter’s API for publication.

Edited Oct 12: In other words, the tweet “It is a #beautiful #morning! #happy” will be published on your Twitter account as “It is a #beautiful #morning! happy”.

In SocialOomph, you will still see the hashtags as you entered them when you created the scheduled tweet.

Twitter staff warned us that our service was being abused by people who were including unrelated and/or trending topic hashtags in their tweets, which is in violation of Twitter’s rules.

Since Twitter does not provide an API endpoint against which one can check for embargoed hashtags, our only recourse was to remove all most hashtags from tweets published by our service.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Facebook Rule Change Affecting Personal Profiles and Groups

On April 24, 2018, Facebook announced that they were removing the publish_actions Facebook API permission.

The publish_actions permission was required to perform offline publishing of Facebook posts to personal Facebook profiles and Facebook groups. Offline publishing means “without user intervention,” such as future-dated Facebook posts scheduled in our service and other comparable services.

The removal of the permission means that we will now be able to publish your scheduled posts only to Facebook pages of which you are an administrator. We cannot any longer publish posts to Facebook profiles and groups.

This change affects all third-party services that use the Facebook Graph API.

Removal of Follower and Following Features

Twitter informed us that providing follow features greatly increases the risk of an application being auto-sanctioned (restricted or suspended).

On March 5, 2018 our application was auto-restricted by Twitter algorithms because their system was observing elevated spam reports on Twitter accounts where SocialOomph executed a follow API call. In other words, account @user_one followed, via SocialOomph, @user_two, and subsequently @user_two submitted a spam report to Twitter to complain about @user_one.

This auto-restriction did not only impact our calls to the follow API endpoints, it prevented us from making any write operations to the API, including publishing tweets.

This restriction severely impacted thousands of our users for several hours, until Twitter Platform staff responded to our support requests, explained the reason for the auto-restriction, and then lifted the restriction.

Providing superior scheduling features has always been our core competency, and we’re not willing to retain features in the service that might, and almost certainly will, negatively impact that core competency.

Consequently, on March 6, 2018, we removed all follow features from our service. This removed the follow-back, find new people to follow, and following management features.

Helping Twitter To Combat Spam

Twitter Rule Changes

On February 21, 2018 Twitter published new developer rules for automation and the use of multiple Twitter accounts.

The rules basically boil down to this, to the extent that our service is affected:

Do not allow users to select more than one Twitter account when they create a tweet.

We’ve implemented the necessary changes in our service to comply with the new Twitter rules.

Going One Step Further

In addition, we have also implemented the following tweet throttling rule, which applies only to tweets published to Twitter via our service:

Across all the Twitter accounts linked to your SocialOomph account, the same tweet can only be published once every 24 hours (we refer to this as the duplicate content blackout period).

Even though you might still be able to schedule the same tweet to be published to different Twitter accounts in the same rolling 24-hour period, at publishing time we will publish the first copy of the tweet, and then reject any duplicates for 24 hours after that, across all your linked Twitter accounts.

The moral of this story is: Create unique content for Twitter. They hate duplicate content.

New Rules Apply To All Applications

The new Twitter developer rules apply to all applications that use Twitter’s API. If you happen to¬† find one that still offers multi-account tweet posting capabilities, know that using it violates Twitter’s rules and could result in the suspension of your Twitter account.

Twitter has even removed multi-account posting capabilities from their own product, TweetDeck.

Implementation Date

The above changes to our service went live on February 22, 2018.

Concerns

Please refer any queries or concerns with the new Twitter policy to Twitter Support.

 

 

New Feature: Connect Your Pinterest Boards and Schedule Your Pins

We added Pinterest.com as another social network that you can connect to your SocialOomph user account, and schedule Pins for your Boards. All our much loved scheduling and update sourcing tools, such as recurring updates, queue reservoirs, seasonal updates in queues, RSS feeds, emailing in updates, etc., are available to use with your Pinterest Boards.

For more information on the Pinterest integration and other features, please review our online help at https://www.socialoomph.com/help.

This new feature is available to all our users with a Professional subscription.

New: Optional Two-Factor Log In Security

For added security, you are now able to activate two-factor authentication on your user account, where you must also enter a dynamic 6-digit code that’s generated by an app on your mobile device when you log in. This feature is optional. You do not need to do anything if you want to continue using just your user ID and password to log in.

To activate this feature on your account, log in, click your name in the menu and then Two-Factor Authentication.

This new security feature is available to all our users free of charge.