What Is Tweetdecking? Twitter Suspends Multiple Popular Accounts

As part of its spam crackdown, Twitter has suspended multiple accounts linked to “tweetdecking,” the process of amplifying stolen content to make it go viral.

Some popular profiles engaged in the scheme, including @Dory, @SoDamnTrue, @CommonWhiteGirl and @memeprovider, had amassed millions of followers before being silenced by the social network on Friday (March 10), Buzzfeed reported.

The operation involved the theft of shareable material on Twitter that would be curated via Tweetdeck, a widely-used platform that lets users create groups of profiles and schedule updates. Complicit accounts would band together and retweet each other’s stolen content so that it gained a massive reach across the website.

It became so successful that other Twitter users, allegedly including brands, started to pay the administrators of the groups—also known as “decks”—for access.

According to Buzzfeed, a retweet from the groups' members cost between $5-$10 but owners also boosted income by offering weekly and monthly subscriptions.

In order to clamp down on the lucrative activity, which is in violation of the website’s detailed spam policies, Twitter pledged to put an end to any accounts being used to “sell, purchase or attempt to artificially inflate account interactions.” Its rules state that breaking the policies can result in permanent suspension.

“Spam is generally defined on Twitter as bulk or aggressive activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter or the experience of users on Twitter to drive traffic or attention to unrelated accounts, products, services, or initiatives,” the terms say.

Strikes can involve posting multiple updates on a trending issue “with an intent to subvert or manipulate the topic” or creating fake accounts. It stresses that trying to evade a ban by creating new accounts will not work—they will also be purged.

In February, Yoel Roth, of API policy and product trust at Twitter, first announced that changes would be made to how the website works with Tweetdeck.

He wrote: “One of the most common spam violations we see is the use of multiple accounts and the Twitter developer platform to attempt to artificially amplify or inflate the prominence of certain Tweets. To be clear: Twitter prohibits any attempt to use automation for the purposes of posting or disseminating spam, and such behavior may result in enforcement action.

“The use of any form of automation (including scheduling) to post identical or substantially similar content, or to perform actions such as likes or retweets, across many accounts that have authorized your app is not permitted.

“Users of Tweetdeck will no longer be able to select multiple accounts through which to perform an action such as tweeting, retweeting, liking, or following.”

Last year Twitter became embroiled in scandal after admitting that more than one million of its users had been targeted by Russian trolls during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Alongside Google and Facebook, it committed to making urgent changes to reduce the potential for future abuse. 

Most recently, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that the website would now be focusing on strengthening the “health” of conversations taking place online.