Twitter is making good on its pledge to fight the persistent problems of spam, bots, harassment and misinformation that have plagued the social platform for years. Today, in its generally positive Q1 earnings report, the company announced that changes it has made related to TweetDeck and its API — two of the most common spam vectors on Twitter — in the past quarter have translated into real numbers that point to overall improvements in quality on the service.
Specifically, according to figures published in the company’s letter to investors, 142,000 apps, accounting for 130 million tweets, have had their API access revoked; and there are now 90 percent fewer accounts using TweetDeck to create junk tweets.
To note, Twitter’s new changes took effect only on March 23, and the earnings report covers only activity for the three months ending March 30 — meaning these numbers are just covering a week of activity. In other words, the effect over the longer term will likely be significant.
The TweetDeck stat covering 90 percent fewer users using TweetDeck to create false information and automated engagement spam are both a result of changes to TweetDeck itself as well as a new and more proactive approach that Twitter is taking.
In February, Twitter stopped allowing automating mass retweeting — or TweetDecking, as it’s been called by some — in which power users turned to TweetDeck to retweet posts across masses of accounts they managed, as well as across smaller user groups of people who managed masses of accounts, a technique that helps a tweet go viral. Some weeks later it moved to suspend a number of accounts that were guilty of the practice, although at least some of those suspensions were strongly disputed by the owners as mistakes on the part of the company.