Twitter

Twitter said this week it removed more than 143,000 apps from its platform between April and June as part of a purge on apps that violated its API policy.

"We do not tolerate the use of our APIs to produce spam, manipulate conversations, or invade the privacy of people using Twitter," the company said in a blog post this week.

The social network has always been accused of harboring a large number of bots that have often swayed public discussions and opinion. Most often, these bots are controlled via Twitter API apps that automate their actions, such as likes, follows, and tweets.

Twitter's crackdown on apps that violated its API policy comes as Facebook is facing government inquiries into the collection and use of user data harvested by Cambridge Analytica for election meddling.

The smaller social network is trying to avoid questioning from authorities, and any subsequent legal action, especially since the site is known as a festering pot of dissent, harrassment, and fake news.

Twitter makes major changes to its API platform

But besides cutting off over 143,000 bad apps, the micro-blogging platform is also addressing the issue at the core of this problem by changing how its API platform works.

"Starting today, all new requests for access to Twitter's standard and premium APIs are required to go through [a new individual approval] process," the company said.

This process requires developers of Twitter API-based apps to apply for individual access to the platform. Devs have to provide more details about themselves. Twitter says this will help prevent the registration of spammy and low-quality apps.

Twitter also says that all existing developer accounts will gradually be prompted to provide more details about the account holders. Those who fail will see their apps cut off from the official API.

Devs limited at ten Twitter apps, new API rate limits

Additionally, developers won't be allowed to create and manage more than ten apps. If developers need to run more than ten apps, they'll have to request special permission from Twitter and provide a good reason to do so.

Developers who think they can sneakily change the way their apps use the Twitter API will also be prompted for extra information about the app's new features, even after they've been "approved."

Starting September 10th, 2018, new API rate limits will also be put in place for each Twitter app. Twitter says these new rate limits "will help cut down on the ability of bad actors to create spam on Twitter via [their] APIs." The new rate limits entering into effect will be (per app):

Tweets & Retweets (combined): 300 per 3 hours
Likes: 1000 per 24 hours
Follows: 1000 per 24 hours
Direct Messages: 15,000 per 24 hours

The limits can be removed for valid reasons for apps that need more access to Twitter's data for legitimate reasons.

Last but not least, Twitter says it also modified its Twitter API support page to include an option for reporting "bad apps" that break one of its many policies.

The company also relaunched its Developer Portal this week, available at developer.twitter.com.

This is step two of Twitter's crackdown on misbehaving users and bad content. Earlier this month, the social network also announced it banned more than 70 million user accounts in May and June, most of which it deemed bots or fakes.

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