Following rules and best practices

To learn more about following, please read "FAQs about following."

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 unfollowing large numbers of other users). You can read more about these below, but if you don’t follow or unfollow hundreds of users in a single day, and you aren’t using automated methods of following users, you should be fine.

Please note that Twitter does not permit any automated or bulk following or unfollowing behavior. Please review our Automation rules and best practices for more information on automating your account.

What is aggressive following?

Aggressive following is defined as indiscriminately following hundreds of accounts just to garner attention. However, following a few users if their accounts seem interesting is normal and is not considered aggressive. 

What is aggressive follow churn?

If you decide to follow someone and then change your mind later, you can just visit the person’s profile page and unfollow them. Aggressive follow churn is when an account repeatedly follows and then unfollows a large number 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. 

Are there additional limits if you are following 2000+ accounts?

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—for example, 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 works quite differently from social networks: when you accept friend requests on other social networks like Facebook, it usually means you appear in that person's network and they appear in yours. Following on Twitter is different because following is not mutual. Twitter allows people to opt-in to (or opt-out of) receiving a person's updates without requiring a mutual relationship.

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. Monitoring for abuse is one way to reduce spam on Twitter.

What are 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. Using these is not allowed according to the Twitter Rules.

  • 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.

Are there following limits if 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 and post meaningful content, 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 unfollowing accounts is frustrating to other Twitter users and degrades the Twitter experience for everyone.

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