Social media mar­keters react to Twit­ter’s new rule restrict­ing simul­ta­ne­ous tweets with iden­ti­cal con­tent across mul­ti­ple accounts.

Last month, Twit­ter made a major announce­ment that left many social media man­agers mim­ic­k­ing the guy with blink­ing eyes GIF. In a move to com­bat the onslaught of spam and bot activ­i­ty, the site said it would no longer per­mit simul­ta­ne­ous tweets across mul­ti­ple accounts con­tain­ing iden­ti­cal con­tent.

One of the most com­mon spam vio­la­tions we see is the use of mul­ti­ple accounts on the Twit­ter devel­op­er plat­form to attempt to arti­fi­cial­ly ampli­fy or inflate the promi­nence of cer­tain Tweets,” wrote API pol­i­cy and prod­uct trust team mem­ber, Yoel Roth, on the Twit­ter blog.

Days after the site’s announce­ment, Twit­ter CEO Jack Dorsey said the main ques­tion his com­pa­ny is try­ing to answer right now is how it can mea­sure the health of the plat­form in a way that is pub­lic and account­able.

The more clar­i­ty we can build, the more trust we’ll have,” said Dorsey dur­ing a livestream broad­cast, but many believe this lat­est move to curb mali­cious behav­ior is pun­ish­ing the wrong users.

Less automation means more time-intensive tasks for marketers

As the com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ag­er for Con­nect­ed Nation, a non­prof­it aim­ing to expand access to high-speed inter­net across the US, Jes­si­ca Den­son was imme­di­ate­ly impact­ed by the change. In addi­tion to over­see­ing the Con­nect­ed Nation’s pri­ma­ry Twit­ter han­dle, she man­ages 10 oth­er com­pa­ny-relat­ed Twit­ter accounts.

I’m most often shar­ing news sto­ries relat­ed to broad­band expan­sion, tele­work, and efforts to close the dig­i­tal divide,” says Den­son. “The con­tent is iden­ti­cal on the accounts sev­er­al times dai­ly because news on the sub­ject can impact all the states we serve and pro­vide solu­tions for those areas.”

With Twitter’s recent pol­i­cy updates, Den­son says her social media respon­si­bil­i­ties take a lot more time now.

It means tak­ing the same post and repost­ing it each time — find­ing the image on my com­put­er each time. It sim­ply adds sev­er­al min­utes to every mes­sage I need out there, and when you’re doing five to 15 every day, that can eat up your time quick­ly.”

The companies that will be impacted most by Twitter’s update

Jim Ander­son, CEO for SocialFlow, a social media man­age­ment plat­form used by pub­lish­ers and media out­lets (Mar­ket­ing Land includ­ed), says Twitter’s new rules will most like­ly affect the teams man­ag­ing Twit­ter accounts for large media com­pa­nies.

It will have the great­est impact on nation­al media com­pa­nies that have dozens, or even hun­dreds of local media out­lets,” says Ander­son. “For exam­ple, a media com­pa­ny that owns radio, tele­vi­sion and news­pa­per out­lets in dozens of mar­kets might want to make a human inter­est or lifestyle post to dozens of those prop­er­ties.”

SocialFlow client Apryl Pilol­li, who serves as the senior prod­uct man­ag­er for social at Cox Media, says Twitter’s lat­est update unfair­ly impacts brands.

The fact that Twit­ter is penal­iz­ing every­one with this change is like a man­ag­er tak­ing away work-from-home priv­i­leges from the whole team because one per­son abus­es it. All brands shouldn’t be pun­ished for a few bad apples that are mis­us­ing the func­tion­al­i­ty,” says Pilol­li.

Den­son agrees with Pilol­li. She believes Twit­ter and its users would be bet­ter served if the site took more time to review indi­vid­ual accounts.

I think it would be more effec­tive if they vet­ted Twit­ter accounts rather than lim­it­ing how we can uti­lize our accounts. Twit­ter can be very effec­tive for non­prof­its try­ing to do good things — in our case to help ful­fill our mis­sion to close the dig­i­tal divide — IF we can lever­age it.”

What it means for marketers going forward

While the recent updates will make her job more chal­leng­ing, Den­son says it won’t change how she uses the plat­form.

We’re a non­prof­it. This is a good way to cre­ate out­reach and engage­ment with­out added cost, so we’ll con­tin­ue to use it. It will sim­ply make our work a lit­tle more dif­fi­cult,” says Den­son.

Mon­i­ca Wright, Mar­ket­ing Land’s own vice pres­i­dent of growth and engage­ment, says her team is now native­ly retweet­ing con­tent that pre­vi­ous­ly would have been simul­ta­ne­ous­ly post­ed across the company’s mul­ti­ple Twit­ter accounts. Wright over­sees the social accounts for all Third Door Media prop­er­ties — Mar­ket­ing Land, Search Engine Land, MarTech Today, SMX, MarTech Con­fer­ence and Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Depot. She says the updates def­i­nite­ly impact her team, but they have not caused too much of a drain on their time.

If it’s a sto­ry on one site that is rel­a­tive to anoth­er site, we sim­ply retweet the sto­ry from each Twit­ter account,” says Wright.

This sen­ti­ment — that it’s going to make things more dif­fi­cult, but ulti­mate­ly not change behav­ior — appears to be the gen­er­al con­sen­sus, says Ander­son. When asked what feed­back he has heard from clients, the CEO says the change seems to fall into the cat­e­go­ry of “mild incon­ve­nience” for most.

They, of course, would rather not be incon­ve­nienced but will adapt to the change,” says Ander­son. “When you look at all the oth­er changes hap­pen­ing with social plat­forms, this is far from the biggest issue.”

The CEO says his com­pa­ny has com­mu­ni­cat­ed Twitter’s pol­i­cy updates to clients and is mod­i­fy­ing SocialFlow’s plat­form to com­ply with the updates.

After adjust­ing to this change, users won’t be able to select mul­ti­ple Twit­ter han­dles in a drop-down menu,” says Ander­son. “If a user wants to pub­lish the same mes­sage to three dif­fer­ent Twit­ter han­dles, she’ll need to make the posts one by one or retweet the orig­i­nal post from the oth­er han­dles.”

Den­son, who uses Tweet­Deck and Hoot­suite, says both have been updat­ed.

I can still post iden­ti­cal con­tent, but I can’t do it simul­ta­ne­ous­ly. I have to do each one indi­vid­u­al­ly,” says Den­son.

Twitter’s recommendations

In the post announc­ing its pol­i­cy updates, Twit­ter rec­om­mend­ed retweets as an alter­na­tive now that tweets with iden­ti­cal con­tent could no longer be auto­mat­ed across mul­ti­ple accounts. It not­ed that retweets, “… should only be done from a small num­ber of dis­tinct accounts that you direct­ly con­trol,” and aggres­sive or high-vol­ume auto­mat­ed retweets are not per­mit­ted.

Any­one break­ing the rules could have their Twit­ter account sus­pend­ed. The site also gave a March 23, 2018, dead­line for social media man­age­ment apps to make nec­es­sary changes so that their plat­forms com­plied with the pol­i­cy updates.

Dorsey did say dur­ing his livestream that Twitter’s inten­tion was to even­tu­al­ly open the ver­i­fi­ca­tion process to every­one. Of course, that doesn’t mean Twit­ter would like­ly roll back rules around simul­ta­ne­ous tweets just because all users were giv­en an oppor­tu­ni­ty to ver­i­fy their accounts.