Thursday, March 29, 2012

Twitter imposes posting limits !!

Limits alleviate some of the strain on the behind-the-scenes part of Twitter, and reduce downtime and error pages. For the sake of reliability, we've placed some limits on account actions like following, API requests, direct messages, and updates.

Current Twitter limits

The current technical limits for accounts are:

  • Direct Messages
: 250 per day.
  • Updates: 1,000 per day. The daily update limit is further broken down into smaller limits for semi-hourly intervals. Retweets are counted as updates.
  • Changes to Account Email: 4 per hour.
  • Following (daily): Please note that this is a technical account limit only, and there are additional rules prohibiting aggressive following behavior. You can find detailed page describing following limits and prohibited behavior on the Follow Limits and Best Practices Page. The technical follow limit is 1,000 per day.
  • Following (account-based): Once an account is following 2,000 other users, additional follow attempts are limited by account-specific ratios. The Follow Limits and Best Practices Page has more information.
  • These limits include actions from all devices including web, mobile, phone, API, etc. API requests from all third-party applications are tracked against the hourly API limit. People who use multiple third-party applications with their account will therefore reach the API limit more quickly. For more information on this topic, please see our API Rate Limiting Page.

    These limits may be temporarily reduced during periods of heavy site usage. In such cases, we will post an update at the Twitter Status blog.

    What happens if I hit a limit?

    If you do reach a limit, we'll let you know with an error message telling you which limit you've hit. For limits that are time-based (like the DM Messages, Update, Changes to Account Email, and API Requests Limits), you'll be able to try again after the time has elapsed.

    The Update Limit of 1,000 updates per day is further broken down into semi-hourly intervals. If you hit your account update limit, please try again in a few hours after the limit-period has elapsed.

    Having trouble?

    If you've hit a follow limit, please see this Follow Limit Troubleshooting page for more information.


    Following Rules and Best Practices

    Following is a way to receive information, in the form of tweets, from a person, company, or organization. If an account seems interesting, you can follow that account and see their updates in your timeline. This page discusses some of the limits and best practices regarding following on Twitter.

    What are the limits?

    We don’t limit the number of followers you can have. However, we do monitor how aggressively users follow other users. We try to make sure that none of our limits restrain reasonable usage, and will not affect most Twitter users.

    We monitor all accounts for aggressive following and follow churn (repeatedly following and un-following large numbers of other users). You can read more about these below, but if you don’t follow or un-follow hundreds of users in a single day, and you aren’t using automated methods of following users, you should be fine. Please note that the only automated following behavior that Twitter allows is auto-follow-back (following a user after they have followed you). Automated un-following is also not permitted. Please review our Automation Rules and Best Practices for more information on automating your account.

    What is aggressive following?

    Following users is a way to see their updates in your timeline. If an account seems interesting, feel free to follow it! Many Twitter users receive email notifications when someone follows their account or check out the profiles of new followers to see if they share common interests. If some accounts are aggressively or indiscriminately following hundreds of accounts just to garner attention, it makes Twitter a less-nice place to hang out.

    What is aggressive follow churn?

    If you decide to follow someone and then change your mind later, that’s fine! You can just visit the person’s profile page and then un-follow them. Aggressive follow churn is when an account repeatedly follows and un-follows large numbers of users. This may be done to get lots of people to notice them, to circumvent a Twitter limit, or to change their follower-to-following ratio.

    These behaviors negatively impact the Twitter experience for other users, are common spam tactics, and may lead to account suspension.

    Additional limits if you are following 2000 or more people:

    The rules about aggressive following and follow churn still apply. In addition, every user can follow 2000 people total. Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following. When you hit this limit, we’ll tell you by showing an error message in your browser. You’ll need to wait until you have more followers in order to follow more users—basically,

    you can't follow 10,000 people if only 100 people follow you. When you reach a daily or total limit and we show you an error message, you've hit a technical limit imposed to limit egregious behavior by spam accounts and to prevent strain on the site. These are just the technical limits for your account; in addition, you are prohibited from aggressive following behaviors. These behaviors may result in account suspension, regardless of your account's technical ratio.

    Limits improve site performance by ensuring that when we send a person's message to all of their followers, the sending of that message is meaningful. Follow limits cannot be lifted by Twitter, and everyone is subject to them, including verified and developer accounts. Based on current behavior in the Twitter community, we've concluded that this is both fair and reasonable.

    Why does Twitter monitor following behavior at all? Isn’t this a social network?

    Twitter facilitates social networking, but it's not a social networking website. In fact, Twitter works quite differently from social networks: when you accept friend requests on social networks, it usually means you appear in that person's network and they appear in yours. Following on Twitter is different, because instead of indicating a mutual relationship, following is a one-way action that means you want to receive information, in the form of tweets, from someone. Twitter allows people to opt-in to (or opt-out of) receiving a person's updates without requiring mutual following.

    If you follow too many people, there’s no way you can keep up with everyone's updates in your timeline. If you need to communicate with someone but don't need to see their updates everyday, you don't have to follow them. Send them an @reply when you need to; it doesn't require following and your update will appear in the person's replies tab, so they can reply back.

    In addition, limits on Twitter alleviate some of the strain on the invisible part of Twitter, which prevents error pages and downtime on the visible part. For the sake of reliability, we've placed limits on actions like following, API requests per hour, and number of updates per day (see this page for more information on updating and API limits).

    Finally, follower violations are one tactic that spammers often use to abuse Twitter, so monitoring for abuse is one way to reduce spam on Twitter.

    Using Third Party Applications to “Get More Followers Fast!”

    You may encounter websites or applications claiming they can help you get lots of followers quickly. These programs may ask for payment for followers, or ask you to follow a list of other users in order to participate. The Twitter Rules addresses the use of these programs by disallowing:

    • Using or promoting third-party sites that claim to get you more followers (such as follower trains, sites promising ‘more followers fast,’ or any other site that offers to automatically add followers to your account).

    When you give out your username and password to another site or application, you are giving control of your account to someone else. They may then post duplicated, spam, or malicious updates and links, send unwanted direct messages, aggressively follow, or violate other Twitter rules with your account. When these applications do add followers to your account, they are often abandoned or bot accounts that are not reading your updates. If a third-party application causes your account to violate the Twitter Rules, your account may be suspended.

    Some third-party applications have been implicated in spam behavior, fraud, the selling of usernames and passwords, and phishing. Please do not give your username and password out to any third-party application that you have not thoroughly researched.

    Revoke access for any third-party application that you don't recognize by visiting the Applications tab in Account Settings.

    Following limits? But I'm whitelisted!

    Some API administrators have whitelist status so their applications can function without hitting certain system limits. Whitelisting means that an application can have more API requests per hour; it does not increase the follow limits. All whitelisted accounts are still subject to follow limits.

    So how am I supposed to get followers?

    Remember, Twitter isn’t a race to get the most followers. If you follow users that you’re interested in, it’s more likely that legitimate users will find you and read your updates. People follow other users on Twitter to read updates that are interesting to them. Aggressively following and un-following accounts is frustrating to other Twitter users, and degrades the Twitter experience for everyone.

    Having Trouble?

    Check out our Following Troubleshooting section for solutions to common problems.

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