Deprecation of Twitter @mentions in Brightcove Social

In an effort to control the bad behavior of some Twitter users — particularly those who use social media applications to spam and bully — Twitter has instituted new policies, and deployed automated systems to detect and enforce these policies.

One policy states that an application will be terminated if the monitoring system detects the use of @mentions that are not replied to by the mentioned party within an unspecified time period. In a sample use case we saw, the players mentioned during coverage of a high school football game did not respond to tweets while they were on the field. A network bot that was monitoring the feed misinterpreted this as bullying behavior, and automatically blocked the application’s access to the Twitter platform. Reinstatement required filing an appeal through the support team, and the outage lasted for several hours.

The situation that caused the outage was innocent, accidental, and in compliance with the spirit of Twitter’s policies. But Twitter is dealing with these issues on an enormous scale and is forced to automate their processes. Over 143,000 applications were suspended in Q118 alone.

To address this policy change, Brightcove Social will convert @mentions to #mentions prior to publishing tweets. The impact for the users is that the tweets will not automatically appear in the feed of the mentioned party.

While not ideal, this change protects all Brightcove Social users from inadvertent and unplanned shutdowns. If you have any concerns, please contact your account manager.

For more information about the Twitter policies, please read The Twitter Rules.