Opting out of Twitter’s 3rd party community-building apps

There are a number of services that tell you how many followers you’ve gained this week, or that suggest people to follow etc. While these might be very useful for you or your company, in terms of building your network and getting an idea of various metrics, some of the services also send automatic thank you tweets to other people that have engaged with you. Many people find these types of tweets exceptionally irritating, I am one of them.

People who are not using the apps themselves are receiving tweets from those who are using them, but the senders are often unaware that the apps are sending out these types of tweet.

Twitter has best practice guidelines for apps that send automated replies.

“Users must also have a clear and easy way to opt-out of receiving automated reply messages and mentions from your application.” – Automation rules and best practices | Twitter Help Center (updated 7 April 2016)

In April 2017 Twitter updated its Automation page for developers “However, you may send automated replies or mentions to Twitter users so long as you provide a clear and easy way for such users to opt-out of receiving automated replies and mentions, and promptly honor all such opt-out requests” from Section 2. Posting automated mentions and replies.

If someone you interact with uses commun.it, for example, then you might receive an automated tweet from them thanking you for following, RTing, engaging, or being a ‘top influencer’. Often these tweets are not sent as standard reply to you only, but sent as public tweet (to all their followers and with several people mentioned) thereby maximising its reach. Each tweet includes a link to commun.it’s website advertising its product in the hope that others will sign up. I’m honestly surprised that Twitter permits this sort of thing – unsolicited automated replies sent to large numbers of users advertising services. Commun.it is probably the worst spammer but there are several others.

If you’ve received an unwanted tweet via one of these services below you should be able to opt out with these instructions. You don’t need to create an account with them in order to opt out, if you don’t want their users to tweet you through their service they should honour that.

If it’s your account that’s sending stuff out…

Log into the desktop version of Twitter and go to your Settings > Apps page and revoke the app, then change your password. If that doesn’t work then you may need to visit the App’s website and see if you can edit settings on your ‘account’ (often generated automatically once you’ve authorised the app, so log in with Twitter). If that fails search for the name of the app on Twitter and see if there’s a customer services person (eg @Linkishelp for Linkis).

  • c0nvey (note, spelled with the number zero) – appears to use Linkis
  • Linkis or Link.is – read this excellent guide by @kevwyke on how to stop this parasitical linking system. If you authorise it it will add ‘link.is/’ to every link you send out, which encourages other people to sign up and authorise it and so on. Pointless spam.

If someone else’s account is sending you stuff…

If you’ve signed up to use one of these services and have since thought better of it then you can revoke the app’s permission to use your account in the app bit of your settings.

• How to stop receiving automated tweets from Paper.li

Paper.li is an online tool used to curate a selection of social media items such as tweets and blog posts to turn them into a customised ‘newspaper’. Often your first introduction to it will be when someone sends a tweet saying that the ‘name of their news bulletin’ is out and that it contains stories from you and other people, with a link to the online newspaper that contains your curated post.

Usually these collections are created or generated around a particular topic or keyword and you may be interested to read what others are writing / curating on that topic, or you may find it irritating. If you are you can easily stop Paper.li from including you in its automated promotion tweets by sending an ‘unsubscribe’ tweet to @newscrier.

More information about what Paper.li is and how to use it, or avoid it, from their ‘What is paper.li?’ support post.

See also sumall and commun.it which are tools that automatically suggest people to follow and interact with. Unfortunately they tend to send out automatic tweets that greet or thank people for connecting. I find them insincere and irritating and don’t know a foolproof way of not receiving automated tweets from them.

Storify is a fantastic tool for curating tweets and it doesn’t send out automated tweets (it does send out automated email alerts to people who have previously used it though) but it lets people send out a promotional tweet which tells you that your tweet has been used in their story. Not much that can be done about that alas.