Welcome DM's to New Followers


The updated automation rules now state:

Sending automated Direct Messages to users

You may not send unsolicited Direct Messages in a bulk or automated manner, and should be thoughtful about the frequency with which you contact users via Direct Message.

You may send automated Direct Messages to users so long as:

the recipient(s) have requested (i.e. opted in) to be contacted by you via Direct Message or have clearly indicated an intent to be contacted in advance; and
you provide a clear and easy way for such users to opt-out of receiving automated Direct Messages, and promptly honor all such opt-out requests.
The fact that a user is technically able to receive a Direct Message from you (e.g. because the user follows you, has enabled the ability to receive Direct Messages from any account, or because the user is in a pre-existing Direct Message conversation with you) does not necessarily mean they have requested or expect to receive automated Direct Messages from you.

There are many applications that provide this exact feature - automatically sending a welcome direct message to new followers. Am I right to expect that that feature will soon disappear from those applications?

And, for example, a feature that looks like this is clearly and obviously against the new automation rules, right?:

Just want to make sure I understand it correctly.


No, automatically sending message won’t disappear from those applications until they violate these automation rules updated on April 6,2017. You also have written them,

  • the recipient(s) have requested (i.e. opted in) to be contacted by you via Direct Message or have clearly indicated an intent to be contacted in advance
  • you provide a clear and easy way for such users to opt-out of receiving automated Direct Messages, and promptly honor all such opt-out requests

source: Automation Rules | Twitter

But, actually most of those apps (may be all of’em :grinning: ) violates these Automation Rules of Twitter. And users of those apps going to be suspended or some other steps will be taken against them. As Twitter says,

You are ultimately responsible for the actions taken with your account, or by applications associated with your account.

source: Automation Rules | Twitter

I think you’ve understood it correctly as I understood the same thing :smile:

Hope I made myself clear.
God Bless.


That’s exactly my point. Since the rules changed, applications that have that feature are now, by definition, in violation of those rules and I would expect them to be told to remove that feature or risk suspension of the application itself.

Our app used to have that feature and we removed it, so I’m monitoring these other ones to see if the same rules apply to all apps or if some are allowed to break the rules without consequence.


Yeah, may be. But actions against user will surely be taken if the user violates any rule.


Has nothing to do with users breaking the rules and everything to do with application owners who have applications that allow and facilitate violating the rules.


No no, may be you did not saw my earlier reply. Twitter says,

You are ultimately responsible for the actions taken with your account, or by applications associated with your account.

See more: Automation Rules | Twitter


As you know, we do not review every use case in advance. We are aware that several services do not comply with the letter and spirit of our rules and policies and we appreciate it when developers work with us to remain inside those rules.

On this particular topic we have stated for several years that automated DM welcome messages are not a good experience for a large number of users, and that we do not encourage developers to build these experiences. The most recent automation policy update was aimed at the new APIs and experiences around customer service in order to clarify the position. Note that these updates are reflected in the main Twitter Developer Agreemend and Policy and not restricted to the automation rules.

We do take a combination of user reports around API policy compliance, and our own application review efforts, into account when considering use cases. You’re free to report issues with app behaviour and API policy compliance. I can assure you that all applications and services are subject to the same sets of rules (regardless of outward appearances). As before, we cannot comment on individual use cases and applications via a public forum for privacy and developer specific reasons.


Thanks @andypiper, I do understand all of that. The reason why I ask about the same rules applying to all and put a screenshot of an anonymous application is to make a particular point, that being that the feature in the screenshot I posted is about as obviously against the new automation rules as possible. It’s as blatantly a violation as a hypothetical service offering auto follow backs or an auto-liking/auto-retweeting service that flies directly in the face of clear, established policies.

Yet, if it’s against the rules for us to add a feature like this to our application (as we’ve been told), then theoretically existing applications with this feature would be asked to remove it. It seems reasonable to expect that, right? And I have not mentioned any specific app so there’s no privacy concerns here to worry about. But I will report the non-compliance of applications with this feature although I don’t expect to hear or see anything come of it.

Lastly, this is just a comment that your first paragraph greatly pains me. What you are saying is that Twitter is aware that many services do not comply with the rules and policies, yet our application which DOES comply to the letter has been subject to numerous restrictions… that one stings a bit. But as you alluded to, the outward appearance does not at all reflect any reality where all developers are subject to the same rules.


Yes. I 100% totally understand and I hear your frustration.

Let’s cover both issues, but both essentially come down to similar things and thank you in advance for understanding.

Will apps that violate the policy be “asked” to remove features - yes - we don’t tolerate this and that is one reason why we also request community support in flagging apps that do not comply. This is a complicated area as your question suggests. We have a relatively small team that works on these things and with many thousands of apps out there, it gets difficult to know about all of them and what features they have. Bottom line, rules are rules and some folks make an effort to stay informed (Thank You) while others are not as diligent, but are still subject to them.

On the second point the honest position is yes, of course you are pained by that statement, and I would be as well. Know that if I personally have seen a thing that is problematic I have to go through the same reporting flow that you do, we are on a level playing field here. We do our utmost to keep the platform free of spam and things that our users have shown that they do not enjoy. We are also clear about use cases we encourage and those we are building the roadmap for, which should serve as a signal for where we are headed.

Having said we cannot comment on individual apps, I hope you’ll appreciate me not doing so in the case of yours - but I will put out there that i individually appreciate you as a developer making an ongoing effort to engage constructively as far as you can. We have previously discussed some of our automation detection systems and I’ll seek to make these more transparent in terms of how they work, and why that are deliberately not in a place to be whitelisted or circumvented in future.


@andypiper The feedback you provide and the patience you have with people like me are much appreciated! I do apologize for my increased frustration as with our last restriction being lifted, we were told that this is the last chance we are getting and next time we get restricted it will be permanent.

So it just feels inevitable that the hammer is going to randomly come down on us again one of these days for some mysterious reason that no one can give us any more information about and we’ll be suspended permanently without ever knowing why, which sucks (to put it plainly).

Feeling that impending doom has increased my personal frustration seeing apps that openly violate the rules with seemingly zero consequences while we have a perfectly legitimate application that seems bound to be put to death for reasons I will never know nor understand.

And what can we do about it? I guess nothing. There’s literally nothing we can do to prevent it. I know this is slightly pre-emptive but we were very encouraged by Jack’s statements a while back about welcoming developers back to the platform but it is not going as we expected by any means.

Anyway, thanks Andy. Keeping you around here for developer support is at least one thing platform has gotten right :thumbsup:


@andypiper Wanted to check back in on this. I’ve actually seen more applications start offering auto DM’s to new followers than before despite it being against the new rules. Is something we can safely implement in our application, automatically sending direct messages to new followers?


This is a bad user experience and we do not encourage this behaviour.