In another step against bulk tweeting, Twitter has apparently suspended a number of accounts (it’s unclear, how many of them) for indulging in “Tweetdecking”, which means accounts simultaneously mass tweeting same tweets from multiple accounts. The development was first reported by  BuzzFeed, which said that some accounts like @Dory, @GirlPosts, @SoDamnTrue, Girl Code/@reiatabie, @commonwhitegiri, @teenagernotes, @finah, @holyfag, and @memeprovider got suspended over the weekend.

Tweet Decking

The practice is known as “tweetdecking,” because those involved, form secret Tweetdeck groups, which they call “decks.” Getting an invite to join a deck requires a follower count in the tens of thousands. Many people running campaigns for awareness say that the top trends on Twitter are now almost impossible to breach without an organized campaign by volunteers or recruits flooding the tag, because social media “services” can actually sell organized campaigns for visibility. “Tweetdecking” is now a thing! These trends can be nonsensical, meaningless and almost entirely populated with bots or those earning an income from posting content on Twitter.

Buzzfeed News had reported that teenagers and people in their twenties are making thousands of dollars each month by selling retweets.

To curb this, Twitter banned bulk tweeting recently. Developers are now prevented from using any system that simultaneously posts “identical or substantially similar” tweets from multiple accounts at once, or allows actions like favouriting, retweeting, and following across multiple accounts at once. Twitter will remove these options from its own TweetDeck app, and third-party developers have until March 23rd to comply.

TweetDecking in India

This Livemint report covered how digital media agencies get business for orchestrating a Twitter trend for brands in India, and claims to get a brand on trending on Twitter within an hour. And not only agencies, there are individuals who do the same as paid activities are called, Social media influencers. Livemint had reported on one of these influencers, who was a 17-year-old teen and was doing paid campaigns for brands by making them ‘trending’ on the platform. He used to earn some Rs 20,00- Rs 25,000 per month. According to this report individuals get paid somewhat (at the time of report, i.e, April 2016) Rs 2000 per day for 10 RTs + 10-15 original tweets/ day, or similar cash plus freebies, meals or something else.

In late 2016 BuzzFeed said in a report that at least 10 political hashtags that appeared in the top 10 Twitter trends in India during a period of two months at that time were organized campaigns, and more than 50% of the tweets containing those 10 hashtags were copy-pasted  or was simply duplicated from a particular template.

Also, FactorDaily has reported that Twitter users (AKA influencers) were offered money to Twitter users offered money to praise demonetisation on the platform.

Twitter’s battle against spam and manipulation

Twitter has been criticized for issues such as harassment, bullying, abuse, automated bot generated spam and more. And the micro-blogging site has been taking multiple efforts to battle against such behavior.  Recently, Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, wrote some tweets  about the company’s efforts to improve the health of conversations on the platform. He said that how company has witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers, and that it has been accused of apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for Twitter’s business and share price instead of the concerns of society. “This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be,” he said in a Tweet.

He said that that the company is working on determining the health of conversation, based on indicators like shared attention, shared reality, variety of opinion, and receptivity to start with, and it will continue to work on the indicators. Twitter is also seeking help by opening up an RFP process to cast the widest net possible for ideas and implementations.

Earlier, in a series of updates in its guidelines and rules Twitter had implemented changes in their policy to reduce hateful imagery, violent threats and groups inciting or glorifying brutality.

Update: We had updated the post with more information on TweetDecking in India