Bulk (un)following?


I know the rules state that bulk or automated (un)following is not allowed. I would like to ask for clarification on a specific implementation idea. If a user has, say, 100 users that follow them that they don’t follow them back and they want to follow all of them back, currently you can click each one of them individually and follow them (many apps provide this feature).

However, I believe it’s against the rules to have a button for “Follow back all” or any way to select all, multi-select, etc. I understand the reason for this is to prevent spam, abuse, aggressive follower churn, etc.

That said, if we have a system where, when users follow other users from our app, those (un)follows get put into a queue which gets dripped to Twitter over time, say 1 request per minute, would this still be considered automated or bulk following? In other words, is it the velocity of the (un)follow requests to Twitter that make it considered bulk/automated or the fact that the users would not be clicking on each user individually?

(Note that we do NOT have this feature on our site, but I was asked by a user for the possibility of it and just wanted to get a definitive answer.)



I wouldn’t recommend it. It may be less detectable but that behavior is definitely walking a fine line. Users using bulk-unfollow behavior are usually using an aggressive follower growth tactic, which the policy and rate-limits are attempting to prevent.

I would stay as far away as possible from any behavior that could be interpreted as being for the purpose of aggressive follower growth (quoted from this page in the rules and best practices page):

The Twitter Rules addresses the use of these programs by disallowing: using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising ‘more followers fast,’ or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).


Thanks @joncipriano, I understand the limits are intended to prevent aggressive follower churn, but, if an application programmatically spread a user’s follows out over time, wouldn’t that also help to prevent it? I’m not looking to make some kind of work around of the limits or anything, just curious if having such a system in place that prevented rapid following by programmatically queueing them up over time would make a “follow back all my followers” (or the like) acceptable. It’s not exactly clear to me.