Twitter Fails, Changes TOS and Outlaws Automated Follow Back

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Sometimes these social networks seem to have too much time on their hands. Twitter recently changed their terms of service that now disallows automated follow back. Many third party companies had provided an automated follow back service. So if 50 twitter users followed you and automated follow back was setup for your account, these users would be followed backed without any manual action.

Social Oomph users were alerted late last night (July 4th) of the bad news.

Twitter Fail

E-Mail received from Social Oomph

Please note that on July 2nd, 2013, Twitter changed their terms of service and outlawed automated following back of people who followed you first.

Unfortunately we have no choice but to modify our system to comply with Twitter’s new rules.

Hence, from Monday, July 8th, 2013, the manual vetting option of new followers will be automatically enabled on all accounts that currently have the auto-follow option enabled. If you do not manually approve the follow-back, as Twitter now requires, then the follow-back will not take place.

Should Twitter in the future decide to again allow auto-follow-back, we would be more than happy to restore the auto-follow-back service that you have found so useful for such a long time. We’re as dumb-founded by Twitter’s decision as you are.

Twitter Fails

While many Twitter users don’t use this handy tool, those that do will now be forced to manually follow. This is tedious exercise, and a total waste of time. If you only have a small number of users follow you each day then it won’t take you long, but if you have hundreds or thousands of users following each day this is really bad news.

Oh the joy of the following each new follower, one by one, click by click, will be welcomed by so many users. This creates such an inefficient process. Spending any time on this is a waste, but the larger your account the bigger the blow.

If you’re going to follow everyone that follows you than there should be an automated option. Most using this automation had a process to cleanse the bots, eggs, and other unsavory users. So hard to understand why Twitter reached this decision, makes no sense at all. Stop changing the TOS just for the sake of change. You dropped the ball here Twitter. #Fail, #Fail, #Fail.

If you were using a service to automatically auto-follow, let me know how disgusted you feel.

17 comments
Long Island Marketing
Long Island Marketing

I have to agree, even though we don't think automated follow back is a good idea. Users should have that choice if they want it. Twitter did give option to turn off re-targeted ads, so not all bad news coming from twitter.

kathikruse
kathikruse

Steven, I totally agree with you. They will "rule" Twitter out of relevancy. I've used TweetAdder and when done right, it's very helpful. It does allow spammers to be spammers but it did have its good points. They changed everything recently and now it's less helpful. It's pretty much like Refollow now. I use ManageFlitter to clean up the inactives, etc. What do you use to find people and follow them?

Tattackspro2
Tattackspro2

Did you try Tweet Attacks Pro 2 yet? It is like Tweet Adder 3.0. Go try here www.tweetattackspro2.com


DerekTac
DerekTac

The wording from Twitter: "hosting datasets of raw Tweets for download is prohibited, and automated following or bulk following is also prohibited."


Clint Butler
Clint Butler

I guess you had to see this coming with programs like TweetAddr and the like going towards using Twitter's API.  Several of them eliminated the follow feature when they did that.  And now this.  Oh well, I don't know how to get all the much in the way of interaction from it YET anyway lol.

catalystpart
catalystpart

Hi Steven,

another great blog but I respectfully disagree with you here although you know that I have great respect for you in general.

Why would anyone want to auto follow people blindly? What if they are spammer, don't speak your language, you're not interested in their content etc. etc.. Sure if you follow everybody back you have fewer who will unfollow you later.

Now it becomes nothing but a numbers game where your followers are artificially high because you follow people back who would otherwise have unfollowed you a few days later.

Now I'm curious to see what your followers and followings look like so I'll run a complete report on both.

Can I post both reports here?

JohnAguiar
JohnAguiar

This doesn't bother me since I stopped auto following people a long time ago. BUT I have sratched my head at some of the changes Twitter has made over the past 12 months.

I think this is what happens when they people that developed the idea are pretty much all gone.


You bring in new people that only have focus on making money.  Big mistake.


and while we are at it, can someone tell me why Twitter and FB continue to make changes that hurt marketers and bloggers and small biz owners?

The exact same people that have helped BUILD your platforms to the size they are now.


Do you know how many times I personally have sent people to FB or Twitter? now multiply that by millions of other bloggers, marketers, small biz peeps doing the same thing.

Just dumb.. this is why in 5 yrs Twitter and FB will be hurting.




leaderswest
leaderswest

Great insights Steve, I noticed that they just added a feature with manual follow back where they recommend two people to you every time you follow one person, so the process is much more onerous that just the lack of automation. 

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@Clint Butler Hi Clint. Well, TweetAdder is kind of Black Hat in this world. Twitter had sued TweetAdder. TweetAdder works outside the Twitter API, and I've seen people accounts taken down that have used TweetAdder. Anyway, yes unless you're a celebrity or well know in your niche Twitter can be a bit overrated. 

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@catalystpart

Hi Jorgen - I just don't have the time to analyze each user that follows me and decide if I should follow them or not. It's not worth the time. By following everyone automatically this process is eliminated. I look at a follow as a social media handshake.  If someone follows me, I shake there hand back. 

My unfollow process leads with inactives. I don't want to follow anyone that has been inactive for more than 2 weeks.  If they're not actively on Twitter, I don't care who they are, bye-bye. I'd say on average most users have anywhere between 20-40% of they're followers that are inactive.  Who I follow is a better depiction of my account than the people following me. In the end, the engagers rise to the top, and the numbers are secondary. 

If you want to take the time to do the reports that is fine. I just ask that you do the report on yourself and post as well.  We can compare and contrast.

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@JohnAguiar Hi John Paul - Yes, they are becoming more and more corporate each day. No longer the idea that evolved from a dorm room or garage. It's the kiss of death. Let's see how many rules we can come up until no flexibility remains. 

I agree, decisions like this just chip away at the foundation of the network. If they keep on this path they'll continue to lose users and truly hurt themselves. We'll see...

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@leaderswest Hi Jim, thanks for the comment.  Ugh, one can spend all day there with this exercise now if they choose.  Twitter is creating inefficiency with this, no other way to say it...

GeeklessTech
GeeklessTech moderator

@TheTweepleQueen There's nothing good about the change. On a macro level it means that less people will get followed, because most will not be able to keep up with the manual effort.

knikkolette
knikkolette

@GeeklessTech @catalystpart I have to agree with Jorgen - I only follow people I interact with.  There are many people who will follow anyone and everyone - if they want to follow me without getting to know me - that's their choice - but I'm not going to follow them back just for the heck of it.  

Who knows - perhaps the apps will allow auto follow for you soon.  Good luck.