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Twitter Policy Change Affects Multiple Twitter Accounts with Matching Content, Hurts Categories

Fri March 23 2018 4:29 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=214161
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Twitter recently initiated a new policy that prohibits news websites (or any Twitter account holders) from posting the same news article on multiple Twitter accounts. For example, the main Twitter account for Arlingtoncardinal.com is @earlyreport, which posts all articles from Arlingtoncardinal.com (local, US and World news articles).

Another Twitter account, @Arlingtoncards, formerly posted only Arlingtoncardinal.com articles about local police and fire incidents in Arlington Heights. To continue to satisfy the followers of @Arlingtoncards, we now will post articles from our backup emergency website, Arlington-News.com, which only posts articles regarding Arlington Heights.

Arlington-News.com articles are more concise, and do not include updates, maps or other additional features that are available from Arlingtoncardinal.com. However, the Arlington-News.com articles contain a search link that finds the unabridged article on Arlingtoncardinal.com, positioned on top of a list of similar news articles ordered chronologically.

If you are an @Arlingtoncards follower and prefer the layout and extra features of Arlingtoncardinal.com articles, it is recommended that you follow @earlyreport. However, keep in mind that you will see US News and World News articles published in Arlingtoncardinal.com.


Twitter initiated this policy change to prohibit bad actors from falsely flooding Twitter feeds with spam content to game the system. Unfortunately, their solution punishes many innocent news agencies that have Twitter accounts for single categories of news. For example, a newspaper might have different Twitter feeds for US News, World News, Business News, Entertainment and Sport categories. Since some articles might crossover into two or more categories, Twitter could possibly suspend those Twitter accounts for violating the new policy. So far, Twitter’s response to news agencies inquiring about the issue has produced the recommendation that news agencies retweet to the other categories, which is a laborious procedure for newspapers that are already laying off staff. In addition, the policy also warns about too much retweeting, which could cause account suspension anyway. Unfortunately, it is a very poorly implemented policy, that will probably hurt a lot of innocent accounts, and possibly come back to bite Twitter. One news agency mentioned possibly needing to close about 20 such accounts of potentially overlapped news categories.




The policy has exceptions for emergency broadcasts, but Twitter was not specific about what accounts qualify. For example, consider the National Weather Service or other emergency agencies needing to provide identical or similar messages to different counties, or different National Weather Service office regions; or school districts disseminating information to different school accounts with some overlap. Are school districts going to be suspended. They aren’t exactly considered an emergency agency. How about a lockdown that needs notification on two or more Twitter accounts? Automation is more efficient and faster. Retweeting is slower, and could mean the difference between life or death. Hopefully, the National Weather Service will be exempt from the new policy, otherwise serious consequences could occur if an emergency tweet is prohibited by an automated Twitter suspension of an account that was mistakenly suspended. For example, Twitter might find themselves liable for failed warnings involving tornado deaths or school mass shooting deaths; since many agencies and populations have become dependent on Twitter for emergency alerts.

Unfortunately, Twitter did not provide information regarding whether there would be a warning first in that case of a policy violation, or an instant suspension of a triggered account resulting from the policy violation. Similar to the Facebook monopoly, there is no effective Twitter customer service contact to resolve questions that arise from these type of policy changes.

Fortunately, Arlingtoncardinal.com, created the entirely separate website, Arlington-News.com, several years ago (before Facebook and Twitter became popular) to offer a more concise look at Arlington Heights news, and to offer a backup for any possible emergencies affecting Arlington Heights. If Arlingtoncardinal.com technically failed or became overloaded, there is the second site which can be helpful, especially in an emergency situation.

Increasingly, Facebook and Twitter seem to be run by careless administrators that don’t think through ramifications of their decisions. Their actions create an increasingly disgruntled public; for example, #deleteFacebook, popular just this week following revelations that Facebook violated user trust with a data breach involving Cambridge Analytica.

As providers and subscribers seek alternatives, we might see the return of the popularity of RSS feeds, RSS feed readers, and email subscriptions with increased avoidance of Facebook and Twitter. The news environment is ripe for a total new solution and PowerShift that could circumvent Facebook and Twitter, if the social media giants don’t remain focused on satisfying their users and providers.




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