Twitter Blocks 143,000 ‘Malicious’ Apps in Latest Purge

Spam accounts and apps tweeting abusive messages get the boot

Twitter is doubling down on its crackdown of spam accounts.

The company announced on Tuesday it had deleted more than 143,000 “malicious” apps from using its platform, jettisoned for sending automated tweets, violating its privacy policy, and tweeting “abuse.”

However, not every bot is a bad actor. The @pentametron account, retweeting comments in iambic pentameter, is a harmless automated account for poetry fans. But the deleted accounts were leveraging Twitter’s app developer tools to “manipulate conversations” and “invade the privacy of people using Twitter,” read a blog post from Rob Johnson, senior director of product management, and Yoel Roth, from the company’s app developer team. The 143,000 accounts were deleted between April and June.

The purge is the latest move in Twitter’s effort to “improve the health of conversation” on the app, as execs have put it. Twitter deleted 70 million troll accounts earlier this year, and last month, added warning signs to “suspicious accounts,” or users that showed spammy behavior. The platform has also started hiding mean tweets lower down in reply threads, and replaced its pistol emoji with a water gun.

Twitter also announced on Tuesday that it will be making new app developers share “detailed information about how they use or intend to use” the platform to “better ensure compliance with our policies.” Down the line, Twitter said all of its existing developers will be required to complete its new application in order to continue using the platform.