Twitter has announced a new move in its battle to tackle spammers on its social media platform. The social network is dramatically reducing the number of accounts users can follow each day, reducing the limit to 400 accounts per day from the previous limit of 1,000. According to Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, the number 400 was chosen because it’s a “reasonable limit that allows people to follow the accounts they’re interested in each day while stopping the most spam.”
The idea behind the new limit is making it harder for spammers from rapidly growing their networks. Twitter says that many spammers do this by following then unfollowing Twitter accounts in a “bulk, aggressive or indiscriminate manner”. That type of fraudulent following is a direct violation of Twitter’s rules.
At the beginning of the year Twitter suspended a number of services from its API for the same types of actions. Tools had been created by third-party companies that let users automatically follow a large number of Twitter accounts with little effort. The companies also offered tools to mass unfollow the Twitter accounts that didn’t follow the user back.
Reducing the daily following limit is not the first action Twitter has taken to limit the amount of spam proliferating on the platform in the past twelve months. Last summer, Twitter conducted a massive purge of accounts it had previously locked for being spammy. Twitter also lowered the number of coordinated posts a user could make across multiple accounts last year.
The moves are meant to make spamming on Twitter less attractive and more difficult to scale. These actions tackle both the problem of those who are spamming others for some kind of profit as well as entities that want to widely spread fake news and false information. Twitter expects that the short-term impact of the changes translate into reduced monthly user growth. Last October, Twitter reported 326 million monthly active users.