Twitter’s plans to clean itself up from bad behavior that plagues the service involves removing more than 143,000 malicious apps from its service.
The online messaging company said Tuesday that it removed the bad apps between April and June 2018, citing in a blog post that it does “not tolerate the use of our APIs to produce spam, manipulate conversations, or invade the privacy of people using Twitter.” Third-party developers can access Twitter’s APIs, or application programming interface, to build their own apps on Twitter’s platform.
Twitter’s (TWTR) purge of bad apps comes amid controversy facing social media giant Facebook and its Cambridge Anlaytica scandal. Facebook (FB) has weathered fierce criticism from lawmakers that it failed to prevent an academic researcher from building an app on its platform that siphoned user data, which was ultimately sold to a political consulting firm that used the information to allegedly influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Twitter, like Facebook and Google’s YouTube service, has also come under scrutiny for failing to prevent Russian propaganda outfits from creating accounts on its service and spreading misinformation prior to the U.S. presidential election.
Twitter did not say why it chose to begin removing bad apps from its service starting in April, but it’s likely due to Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, which also gained media attention around the same time. The scandal underscored the prevalence of third-party apps built on the technical platforms of major Internet companies, and the fact that those major Internet companies can be oblivious to what those outside coders are doing with the user data their apps glean.
The online messaging company did not cite specific apps it removed from its service, but cited examples like spam, malicious automation, and surveillance and invasions of privacy as some of the behavior it wants to curb.
Twitter is also now requiring that all developers that want access to “Twitter’s standard and premium” APIs will be required to go through an application process.
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“We know this new process adds extra steps and time to get started with development,” Twitter executives wrote in the blog post. “Our aim is to continue to build a platform where Twitter developers who comply with our policies can get started quickly and scale up, with little to no friction.”