Twitter is cracking down on tweet bots that spread fake news

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Twitter announced on Wednesday a crackdown on accounts powered by software "bots" which can artificially amplify a person or cause and which have been accused of manipulating the social network during the 2016 United States election.

In January, we announced that as part of our Information Quality efforts we would be making changes to TweetDeck and the Twitter API to limit the ability of users to perform coordinated actions across multiple accounts.

In order to implement the changes, Twitter will remove numerous features that enable such behavior from its own apps including TweetDeck.

"To be clear: Twitter prohibits any attempt to use automation for the objective of posting or disseminating spam, and such behaviour may result in enforcement action", said Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of API policy and product trust, on the company's developer blog. The move is created to limit the spread of "fake news" with the same tweets being sent by users of multiple accounts.

As the bot accounts were purged, the hashtag #TwitterLockOut started trending in America.

Twitter, along with other social networks, were at the center of investigations for allegedly allowing Russian hackers to sway the electorate during the 2016 U.S. elections on its platform.

Apps can still cross-post alerts from other services (like RSS readers) to Twitter, but only to a single account.

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The long and short of it is this: Twitter is prohibiting applications that allow users to post "identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts".

It's common knowledge that the site has become the breeding ground for bots or "computational propaganda", as coined by the University of Oxford's internet watchdog division, since the 2016 US Presidential Elections and the Brexit debate.

Twitter says these rules won't apply to "weather, emergency, or other public service announcements of broad community interest". A Twitter spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the company enforces its rules "without political bias" and that the company is engaged in ongoing enforcement of its policies.

Twitter didn't specify how many accounts had been flagged as a result of this latest purge. Numerous users locked out of their accounts were conservative voices on the platform, leading to calls of political bias, which the company denounced.

The BBC on Wednesday reported of massive accounts shutdown, in what Twitter termed as a crackdown on malicious accounts.

The indictment alleges that the Russians posed as Americans, opening financial accounts in their names, spent thousands of dollars buying political advertising and posted political messages on social media impersonating real citizens.

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