Creating a tool that automatically follows people is not allowed, right?


To build my twitter following I use a basic strategy every day:

  • I use some search tools to get a filtered list of 50 accounts that are likely to be interested in my account and content.
  • Then I open the profile of each of those users and click the follow button for every one.
  • After a couple of days I check which people did not follow me back and I unfollow them

This is a really boring process as I’d rather focus on the social part, actually tweeting, interacting with followers and reading / retweeting their tweets but I found it’s a good strategy to do every day.

I was playing with the twitter API and I’d like to automate this part of my strategy. As far as I can see the rules do not allow this:

You may not use or develop any application that allows for the following or unfollowing of user accounts in a bulk or automated manner.

The API however does provide methods for following people with an API call so I guess it’s allowed in some scenarios.
It’s not clear to me why it is possible to do it with the API if it is forbidden. Can I follow someone automatically every 5 minutes for example?

Can anyone tell me if there is something I can do that is allowed by the rules? Otherwise I’m going to have to stay with clicking 50 follow buttons every day :slight_smile:


Read the automation rules. This is likely to be rapidly detected and suspended by our system. Sorry! There are scenarios where following or unfollowing in the API would be OK, but something like this when you’re doing it automatically and regularly with no user input is not that scenario. The API methods exist so that a user can request that an app take this action with explicit consent (i.e. by individually clicking to do so).



Would be helpful if you could clarify “user input” in this scenario:
Understand that showing a user a list of recommended follows and then allowing the user to follow each, one-by-one, through the follow API method is allowed.
What about: Showing the user a “follow all” button to reduce the # of clicks for the user to start following the full list? Lets say the DNC in Philadelphia is about to start and I want to recommend political analysts worth following for the duration of the conference?



“follow all” is not permitted in that situation - the user already has the one-click option to follow the list itself, just not all of the individual accounts in the list.


So the solution to this use case is to build a twitter list and ask the user if he’d like to subscribe to it. Got it. Thanks.