So, after spending a good 2 weeks of back & forth with the automated email responses for trying to get an developer app un-restricted (via Restricted to API read access only), I’ve reached a point where I’ve just lost any hope that Twitter support cares much actual use cases for their APIs. The issue I’ve been running into has been related to the following rule listed on the official Twitter Rules page:
Spam : You may not use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone. What constitutes “spamming” will evolve as we respond to new tricks and tactics by spammers. Some of the factors that we take into account when determining what conduct is considered to be spamming are:
- if you send large numbers of unsolicited replies or mentions;
- if you send large numbers of duplicate replies or mentions;
So, the idea makes sense; don’t @mention a bunch of users who don’t want to be tagged. However, this isn’t actually enforced at all. To give an example, in the world of game streaming websites (Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, etc), it’s very common for a user to @mention several accounts in their tweet when they start to stream. Some of these accounts can include the streaming site, automated retweet accounts, stream groups, and even the game companies of the games they’re playing. Here’s an example of one such:
Now, based on those above rules, this would considered a spam tweet, so it should be deleted or the user should be warned in some way. However, that never once happens in any automated fashion. But, if a user were to send this exact same tweet via the developer API, that would be considered spam because it falls under the “automation” bucket. This is the case whether tool that uses the API creates & sends the tweet on its own OR if the user types in the entire tweet message and hits a button to send it.
In the former case, I can see how that would be a concern, you don’t want an app to go around with a user’s account and do stuff without their permission. However, in the later case, if the user is explicitly typing the message & setting up when they want it sent, how is that any different than a user going on to the website or their phone and doing the same thing? Why is one treated as “malicious” while the other is just ignored?
It’s very frustrating when you want to give an experience to end users to let them do things with your service, but they can’t even do the same things they could do if they were just doing it themselves. So why is it that these rules aren’t enforced to the same level with end-users directly? Why aren’t users receiving warning emails or usage time outs from doing things that Twitter states you can’t do?