Hey, you know how whenever you see a tweet that expresses a questionable opinion, and is kind of oddly worded, you can do a search for that exact wording and find a million replicants of the same message, spreading through the Twittersphere like a virus?
These have become increasingly common beneath crypto project tweets, with comments like ‘Nice project’ and references to ‘to the moon’ and the like.
These are spam tweets - rubbish, bot junk designed to amplify certain messages, and Twitter knows all about them, and has been working to try and reduce their presence in user feeds.
And now, Twitter’s launched some new, more specific rules around copy and pasted tweets, and how it will look to restrict content that re-shares the exact same wording.
We’ve been continuously working to combat spammy &— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) May 10, 2022
duplicative content on Twitter at scale and our new Copypasta and Duplicate Content policy clarifies what constitutes a violation along with what happens when it is violated. https://t.co/qA7uhMlgRD https://t.co/W9IyKRXFcQ
What is ‘copypasta’ exactly?
Twitter defines the process here:
So it’s essentially directly copied content used to amplify that message, while Twitter also notes that examples like the above, where someone has copied a message but added in different @user tags will still be detectable and enforceable under this new policy.
So what happens if Twitter detects a replicated tweet?
The new policy outlines a range of potential penalties, including:
- Making Tweets ineligible for amplification in Top Search results and on Trends
- Not recommending Tweets in timelines of users who don’t follow the Tweet author
- Downranking Tweets in replies
- Excluding Tweets and/or accounts in email or in-product recommendations
In combination, these measures will reduce the visibility of these tweets - but then again, they’ll still appear in the timelines of people who follow each individual account, and they’ll still appear in specific search results on a topic.
Twitter also says that violations of these regulations won’t lead to account removals:
“While copypasta or duplicative Tweets on their own do not result in Tweet removals or account suspensions, they are subject to review and enforcement under our platform manipulation and spam policy and any other Twitter Rules violations.”
I don’t know, that seems a bit soft to me. Like, clearly these are annoying, spammy tweets. Why not remove them outright – maybe not for every single variation, as there’s a chance that two people could tweet the exact same thing. But maybe, after, say, 10 tweets with the exact same text, that should be enough to suspend or remove that account, right?
Maybe this is another element for Elon Musk to tackle in his coming Twitter bot eradication plan - and really, it does seem, as always, like Twitter could do more on this front, as you or I can identify such trends pretty easily, using basic, manual tweet search.
If we can find them, Twitter can definitely pick out similar patterns and usage. Maybe that’s a lot of manual work, or maybe the risk of false positives is too much at this stage.
Either way, the bottom line here is that Twitter’s kind of taking stronger action against spam bots, while also kind of tacitly acknowledging their right to keep spamming, albeit in a more limited capacity.
So maybe you’ll see them less, but maybe you won’t, and they won’t be suspended or removed either way.