Platform manipulation and spam policy

Overview

September 2019

You may not use Twitter’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify or suppress information or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience on Twitter.

We want Twitter to be a place where people can make human connections, find reliable information, and express themselves freely and safely. To make that possible, we do not allow spam or other types of platform manipulation. We define platform manipulation as using Twitter to engage in bulk, aggressive, or deceptive activity that misleads others and/or disrupts their experience.

Platform manipulation can take many forms and our rules are intended to address a wide range of prohibited behavior, including:

  • commercially-motivated spam, that typically aims to drive traffic or attention from a conversation on Twitter to accounts, websites, products, services, or initiatives;
  • inauthentic engagements, that attempt to make accounts or content appear more popular or active than they are; and
  • coordinated activity, that attempts to artificially influence conversations through the use of multiple accounts, fake accounts, automation and/or scripting.

What is in violation of this policy?

Under this policy we prohibit a range of behaviors in the following areas:

Accounts and identity

You can’t mislead others on Twitter by operating fake accounts. This includes using misleading account information to engage in spamming, abusive, or disruptive behavior. Some of the factors that we take into consideration include:

  • use of stock or stolen profile photos, particularly those depicting other people;
  • use of stolen or copied profile bios; and
  • use of intentionally misleading profile information, including profile location.

You can’t artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts. This includes:

  • overlapping accounts – operating multiple accounts with overlapping use cases, such as identical or similar personas or substantially similar content;
  • mutually interacting accounts – operating multiple accounts that interact with one another in order to inflate or manipulate the prominence of specific Tweets or accounts; and
  • coordination – creating multiple accounts to post duplicative content or create fake engagement, including:
    • posting identical or substantially similar Tweets or hashtags from multiple accounts you operate; 
    • engaging (Retweets, Likes, mentions, Twitter Poll votes) repeatedly with the same Tweets or accounts from multiple accounts that you operate; and
    • coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification, even if the people involved use only one account.

Engagement and metrics

You can’t artificially inflate your own or others’ followers or engagement. This includes:

  • selling/purchasing Tweet or account metric inflation – selling or purchasing followers or engagements (Retweets, Likes, mentions, Twitter Poll votes);
  • apps – using or promoting third-party services or apps that claim to add followers or add engagements to Tweets;
  • reciprocal inflation – trading or coordinating to exchange follows or Tweet engagements (including but not limited to participation in “follow trains,” “decks,” and “Retweet for Retweet” behavior); and
  • account transfers or sales – selling, purchasing, trading, or offering the sale, purchase, or trade of Twitter accounts, usernames, or temporary access to Twitter accounts.

Misuse of Twitter product features

You can’t misuse Twitter product features to disrupt others’ experience. This includes:

Tweets and Direct Messages

  • sending bulk, aggressive, high-volume unsolicited replies, mentions, or Direct Messages;
  • posting and deleting the same content repeatedly;
  • repeatedly posting identical or nearly identical Tweets, or repeatedly sending identical Direct Messages; and
  • repeatedly posting Tweets or sending Direct Messages consisting of links shared without commentary, so that this comprises the bulk of your Tweet/Direct Message activity.

Following

  • “follow churn” – following and then unfollowing large numbers of accounts in an effort to inflate one’s own follower count;
  • indiscriminate following – following and/or unfollowing a large number of unrelated accounts in a short time period, particularly by automated means; and
  • duplicating another account’s followers, particularly using automation.

Engagement

  • aggressively or automatically engaging with Tweets to drive traffic or attention to accounts, websites, products, services, or initiatives.
  • aggressively adding users to Lists or Moments.

Hashtags 

  • using a trending or popular hashtag with an intent to subvert or manipulate a conversation or to drive traffic or attention to accounts, websites, products, services, or initiatives; and
  • Tweeting with excessive, unrelated hashtags in a single Tweet or across multiple Tweets.

URLs

  • publishing or linking to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another person’s browser (malware) or computer or to compromise a person’s privacy (phishing); and 
  • posting misleading or deceptive links; e.g., affiliate links and clickjacking links.

What is not a violation of this policy?

The following are not in violation of this policy:

  • using Twitter pseudonymously or as a parody, commentary, or fan account;
  • posting links without commentary occasionally; and
  • operating multiple accounts with distinct identities, purposes, or use cases. These accounts may interact with one another, provided they don’t violate other rules. Some examples include:
    • organizations with related but separate chapters or branches, such as a business with multiple locations;
    • operating a personal account in addition to pseudonymous accounts or accounts associated with your hobbies or initiatives; and
    • hobby/artistic bots.

Who can report violations of this policy?

Anyone can report accounts or Tweets via our dedicated reporting flow. These reports are used in aggregate to help refine our enforcement systems and identify new and emerging trends and patterns of behavior. 

How can I report violations of this policy?

In-app

You can report this content in-app as follows:

  1. Select Report Tweet from the  icon.
  2. Select It's suspicious or spam
  3. Select the option that best tells us how the Tweet is suspicious or spreading spam.
  4. Submit your report.

Desktop

You can report this content via desktop as follows:

  1. Select Report Tweet from the  icon.
  2. Select It's suspicious or spam.
  3. Select the option that best tells us how the Tweet is suspicious or spreading spam.
  4. Submit your report.

Report form

You can also report this content this content for review via our spam reporting form by selecting the I want to report spam on Twitter option.

What happens if you violate this policy?

The consequences for violating this policy depend on the severity of the violation as well as any previous history of violations. Our action is also informed by the type of spammy activity that we have identified. The actions we take may include the following:

Anti-spam challenges

When we detect suspicious levels of activity, accounts may be locked and prompted to provide additional information (e.g., a phone number) or to solve a reCAPTCHA. 

Blacklisting URLs

We blacklist or provide warnings about URLs we believe to be unsafe. Read more about unsafe links, including how to appeal if we’ve falsely identified your URL as unsafe.

Tweet deletion and temporary account locks

  • If the platform manipulation or spam offense is an isolated incident or first offense, we may take a number of actions ranging from requiring deletion of one of more Tweets to temporarily locking account(s). Any subsequent platform manipulation offenses will result in permanent suspension.
  • In the case of a violation centering around the use of multiple accounts, you may be asked to choose one account to keep. The remaining accounts will be permanently suspended.
  • If we believe you may be in violation of our fake accounts policy, we may require you provide government-issued identification (such as a driver’s license or passport) in order to reinstate your account.

Permanent suspension

For severe violations, accounts will be permanently suspended at first detection. Examples of severe violations include:

  • operating accounts where the majority of behavior is in violation of the policies described above;
  • using any of the tactics described on this page to undermine the integrity of elections;
  • buying/selling accounts;
  • creating accounts to replace or mimic a suspended account; and
  • operating accounts that Twitter is able to reliably attribute to entities known to violate the Twitter Rules.

If you believe that your account was locked or suspended in error, you can submit an appeal.

Additional resources

Learn more about our automation rules for developers, our election integrity efforts, our financial scam policy, our hacked materials policy, and our guidelines for promotions and contests.

Learn more about our range of enforcement options and our approach to policy development and enforcement.

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