Bot Hunt on Twitter

The harder part of building a Twitter Bot for developers is getting access to the API. Meanwhile, other bots got useless after the new policies of the company.

Bots are no longer welcome on Twitter. The company has massively removed many bot accounts, while restricting the use of its APIs, rendering other bots useless. There are bad times for being a bot on Twitter.

Among social media, Twitter has had a complicated existence. It took the blue bird social network several years to achieve the monetization of its platform. The company lost money for years, until in 2019 it reported five quarters of profit.

However, as Twitter makes more money, it also loses more users. From 2018 to 2019, Twitter reported in three consecutive quarters that its monthly active user base had shrunk, so it decided to focus on other metrics: monetizable daily users.

The metric caused some mockery from the entrepreneur community, who considered that the decision was just a way to disguise the truth: Twitter has difficulty keeping its users on the platform.

As ridiculous as its metric may sound, its rationale is completely logical. Not all daily Twitter users are monetizable because many of them are bots. Bots can represent daily active users, but they are not monetizable.

Bot purge on Twitter

Since its inception, Twitter has been a land of opportunity for bots. This great openness of its API has allowed the construction of interesting projects such as the @colorisebot, which allowed users to share an image that the bot colored in a few seconds.

However, changes to the Twitter API rendered this bot unusable.

In 2013, it was estimated that 5% of Twitter accounts were fake. However, this figure grew to 15%. The bot population wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the fact that many of them have been used to amplify trends and misinform users.

Since 2018, Twitter started a serious campaign against bots. The company deleted and suspended more than 3.18 million accounts in a month.

New Twitter Deal

The bot purge is only part of the Twitter New Deal. In addition to these measures, Twitter has decided to reinforce moderation and show more relevant content. This new policy was made clear when the company decided to delete Donald Trump’s tweets as inappropriate, after four years of being the former president’s favorite platform for his outbursts.

However, this restrictive policy limits how developers can contribute to Twitter. Among the most popular apps that were affected by this change was Tweetbot. Many of the functions of this Apple app made it less useful.

The Long and Winding Road to request access to the Twitter API

As a result of these new policies, it is increasingly difficult for developers to access the Twitter API. The hardest part is no longer writing the code, but writing a compelling reason letter that you are not spamming users to ask for bitcoins in exchange for double bitcoins.

This new policy will certainly affect innovation within the platform. But will it really improve the user experience? We will find out in the next quarterly Twitter reports.

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