In an effort to reduce spam and abuse of the platform, Twitter recently revoked API access for several popular services that offer rapid and automated follow/unfollow functionality. The company claims that these applications (Manageflitter, Crowdfire, and StatusBrew) were in violation of the platform’s terms and conditions, and had previously been warned about violating the rules.
At face value, the moves makes sense. The process of rapidly following and then later unfollowing is commonly used to inflate follower counts (the assumption being that people will often follow you back, and then you can ditch them later). This is helpful for entities looking to quickly increase their reach on the platform. Twitter’s concern seems to be, in part, that this practice does not promote quality dialogue, since the newly gained users most likely have no interest in what is being shared. The issue, as it often is which Twitter and the developer community, is with the execution of these changes.
The CEO of Crowdfire, Nischal Shetty, disputed the claim that Twitter had notified them of the issue:
Sequence of events: Established: Feb 2010
Sep 2017: Twitter themselves approved our app after their platform policy changes
Sep 2018: They provided us with Elevated API access.
Jan 31st 2019: Abrupt suspension with no prior communication
— Nischal (WazirX) ⚡️ (@NischalShetty) February 1, 2019
Additionally, Social Media Consultant Matt Navarra, who originally reported this story, pointed out that it is possible that Twitter has not been consistent with these new restrictions. It is not difficult to find other services offering similar functionality that are still up and running.