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Twitter has finally responded to the rise of its own social-media giants in 2017, announcing today that it is rolling out a new set of rules that will prevent companies from using its own bots to create “fake accounts” for their own advertisers.
Twitter’s announcement follows years of efforts to limit the use of bot accounts by its competitors, including Apple and Facebook, and comes as the company prepares to unveil new products and services that will make it easier to use Twitter’s own tools to streamline user interactions.
The rules are expected to come in a set of new guidelines on Wednesday, with the goal of helping users avoid the temptation of sending messages to friends using Twitter’s bot tools, which can easily turn a simple tweet into a barrage of inappropriate material.
The company has previously rolled out rules that prevent companies to create bot accounts that are “maliciously impersonating” others and then using them to sell ads.
Twitter previously said it would allow companies to use a bot called @Tweetbot that it uses to help its users streamline their interactions.
But in a statement, the company said it is changing the rules to make sure bots that mimic Twitter’s automated account system are only used to help the service’s users.
“While we’re confident that our bot technology and our user experience will not be compromised, we will no longer allow bots that impersonate Twitter’s system,” the statement read.
The rules will also make it harder for bots to trick users into creating “fake” accounts that they can then use to tweet messages that are inappropriate.
Twitter is rolling those new rules out to its service users, who are expected soon to see the first changes to the bot system.
Twitter has been battling the growing popularity of bots in recent years.
Last year, Twitter said it had identified 3,200 bot accounts with a combined 200 million users.
In 2017, the number of bots was 6,600, according to the company.
But over the past year, bots have surged in popularity, and Twitter has struggled to police them.
Last week, Twitter announced that it was removing some of its bot accounts after it found them posing as users on other platforms and using them for spamming and fake accounts.
Twitter said in the statement that it had also removed thousands of bot-based accounts, and it had suspended more than 40,000 accounts that it deemed to be violating its policies.
The new rules are the latest effort by Twitter to try to curb bot abuse.
Last month, Twitter agreed to buy a startup that specializes in monitoring bots for advertising and said it planned to invest $1 billion in its automated-advertising-technology division.
Twitter has also been aggressively lobbying to expand its bot-fighting capabilities.
In May, the social-news site announced it was hiring former Microsoft chief security officer Matthew Green as a “special projects lead” for its automated advertising and automated-ad-tracking work.