Twitter has announced via its Twitter Safety account that it is trying to hinder spam bots by lowering the daily follow limit from 1,000 to 400.
Spam bots generally follow a large number of user accounts within a short period of time in the hopes that the users would follow the bot account back. The bot would later unfollow the users in order to increase its follower to following ratio. Twitter calls this practice "churning" and lists it as a rule violation.
Follow, unfollow, follow, unfollow. Who does that? Spammers. So we’re changing the number of accounts you can follow each day from 1,000 to 400. Don’t worry, you’ll be just fine.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 8, 2019
Twitter's head of site integrity Yoel Roth said that the reduction in the follow cap will not completely stop spam bots, but it will make it difficult for them.
First things first: You can’t stop spam, bots, or other types of manipulation with rate limits alone. However, rate limits *do* make each spam account less effective, slower, and more expensive to operate.— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) April 8, 2019
He added that 400 was chosen as the cap because the platform found that almost half of the accounts that followed more than 400 users a day were churning, but Twitter did not want to burden legitimate users that actually needed to follow a large number of accounts in a single day.
99.87% of Twitter users are totally unaffected by this lower rate limit. Most people don’t need or want to follow that many accounts.— Yoel Roth (@yoyoel) April 8, 2019
But some legitimate accounts, like businesses providing customer service by DM, actually do need it, and we want to avoid burdening them.
Twitter also recently introduced a new feature called labels that identifies who are the users replying to a conversation. Read more about Twitter labels here.