Twitter Inc has said it would no longer allow Twitter users to post identical messages from multiple accounts in an attempt to crack down on tactics allegedly used by Russian agents and others to make tweets and topics go viral.
The company said on Wednesday said it would also not permit people to use software that allows users to perform various other actions such as liking or retweeting from multiple accounts simultaneously.
Posting identical messages to multiple accounts, or simultaneously retweeting or liking a message from multiple accounts, could help vault something into Twitter’s trending list, giving a false impression of how viral it is among real people.
The San-Francisco-based corporation, which is known for providing a platform for discussions, has been under pressure from users and governments to hinder users from spreading fake news and foreign propaganda. This is usually done through the use of automated accounts known as bots.
According to researchers and US authorities, there is evidence that Twitter bots spread propaganda before the 2016 US elections and still continue to enflame US politics anonymously.
On Friday, 13 Russians and three Russian companies, including St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency known for trolling on social media, were charged by the office of US Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Court documents said that the accused “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the US political system, including the 2016 US presidential election”.
Twitter’s Yoel Roth said the new restrictions implemented on Twitter aim to improve “information quality”.
“These changes are an important step in ensuring we stay ahead of malicious activity targeting the crucial conversations taking place on Twitter ̶ including elections in the United States and around the world,” he stated.
Twitter users have until 23 March to ensure they comply with the new regulation or risk having their accounts suspended. An exception, however, has been made to bots of broad interest such as earthquake alerts.
The social media company has also cracked down on fake accounts by people inflating their following.
Reports said US users with conservative politics complained when their number of followers decreased when Twitter requested users to verify their identity.
Twitter has cracked down on other violations of its terms of service, including fake accounts by people inflating their following.
Editor of the white supremacist magazine American Renaissance sued Twitter on Tuesday saying the decision to ban him from the platform was in violation of the California law governing “privately owned public forums”.