Feb 21, 2018

Twitter limits automated tweets to curb bots

Richard James Mendoza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As part of its effort to rein in spam and propaganda, Twitter said it will now limit how users and apps automate tweets and is also banning systems that simultaneously post, like or retweet similar tweets from multiple accounts.

Why it matters: This is a major step for Twitter as it combats political propaganda on its platform and tries to get rid of bot accounts that help to "artificially inflate" the reach of a hashtag or topic through "inorganic" means. The move comes days after the Justice Department alleged that Russian operatives had heavily relied on social media platforms such as Twitter to manipulate the spread of fake, politically charged content.

What they're saying: "Twitter's tools are apolitical, and we enforce our rules without political bias," Twitter said in a statement about the new range of enforcement options. "This is part of our ongoing, comprehensive efforts to make Twitter safer and healthier for everyone."

Flashback: Last month, Twitter said it notified 677,775 people who followed accounts linked to the Russian government-backed Internet Research Agency accused of trying to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Go deeper

Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Go deeperArrow21 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.