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Twitter’s Updates Ban Auto Follow Backs And Sync Direct Messages
Posted on July 9th 2013
Over the past week, Twitter has made a number of updates to its online service and mobile apps, improving search features and syncing actions across all devices. Twitter has also banned automatic following back from the site.
Yesterday, Twitter announced that direct messages would now be synced across all devices, so that if a user read a DM on their iPhone, it would be marked as read on their PC or Mac. Syncing will roll out over the next few weeks. Twitter has also improved the People search on phones: some results will show up with a full user bio and, by swiping the preview to the left, searches can also see related accounts. For example, if you search for Wayne Rooney, you might see Rio Ferdinand’s account and the Manchester United account. Additionally, the app will update users with new tweets related to a search as they appear, allowing users to stay up-to-date with the conversation.
A number of improvements have been made to Apple devices. For instance, the connect tab on Macs now includes favorites and retweets, as well as mentions, but users can adjust the preferences if they want to see just mentions. Six new languages have been added to the Mac app: Danish, Filipino, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and Thai. Meanwhile, on the iPhone:
[It is] now easier to reply to Tweets with a built-in Tweet composer that appears when you tap to see details. It’s also easier to find accounts to follow with a new people button on the navigation bar, making the iPhone experience consistent with our Android app. Tapping this icon reveals a list of accounts that may be interesting or relevant to you.
Last week, Twitter published some changes to its Developer Rules of the Road and Developer Display Requirements, banning automatic follow backs in the process. Accounts that auto follow back are often guilty of spamming their followers with useless information. Twitter, a site renowned for having one of the largest follow back black markets on the web, is targeting fake accounts and spammers with the changes, which Sylvain Carle announced in the Developer Blog on July 3rd:
For example: we relaxed some display requirements around author’s name, timestamps and permalinks; we clarified that the “no commingling” term doesn’t apply to manually curated streams; and, we now require developers to disclose their privacy policies before people download, install or sign up for a service. We have also clarified some restrictions: hosting datasets of raw Tweets for download is prohibited, and automated following or bulk following is also prohibited.
We believe these changes will help provide a better experience for everyone using Twitter. Be sure to read the actual documents and use those for final reference.
On the same day as the changes were made to Twitter’s rules and regulations, users began noticing that, as they composed tweets, hashtagged words were getting autocompleted, with a list of suggestions appearing underneath. The hashtags suggested are often trending hashtags, making it easier and quicker for users to join the conversation.
In related news, three university researchers claim that they have come up with a way of working out how often tweets will get retweeted, based on the number of times they have been retweeted in the first 10 minutes after they were published. According to Tauhid Zaman of the MIT Sloan School of Management, Emily Fox of the University of Washington and Eric Bradlow of the University of Pennsylvania, a tweet will have the same number of retweets in those first 10 minutes as it will forever after. So, if a tweet is retweeted 20 times in its first 10 minutes, it will be retweeted 40 times in its lifetime. To see some of their predictions, go to the “Twouija” website.
What do you think of the changes Twitter has made to its service?