Is Twitter filtering you from searches?

Several compers have noticed that their accounts have been filtered out of Twitter’s searches lately. The problem is – when it happens, they don’t know anything about it! But it could well be that none of their competition entries are being seen, because of Twitter’s ‘quality filtering’.

Twitter uses quality filtering to keep the site free from spam. Unfortunately, the timelines of most compers fall into the ‘spam’ category – hundreds of retweets, similar content, lots of links, etc. And Twitter is regularly removing those tweets – and accounts – from their search results. That means tweets aren’t seen in a search, retweets aren’t seen by the promoter, and occasionally mentions aren’t even seen by the recipient!

Have you been filtered?

  • When you reply to a tweet, and your comment/reply doesn’t appear underneath it.
  • Your tweets don’t appear in search results (test this by searching for from:yourusername at twitter.com/search, then viewing the All/Live tab – are all your tweets there?)
  • Tweets you send to users don’t appear in their mentions/notifications.

Why you might be filtered

  • If you ‘repeatedly post near-duplicate updates or duplicate links in order to enter contests’.
  • If your ‘updates consist mainly of links, and not personal updates’.
  • If you’re sending too many automated tweets – eg. if you use a service like Twitaculous.
  • If you post similar content (eg. retweeting and then sending a ‘copied and pasted’ version of the same tweet content, or retweeting multiple tweets about the same giveaway).

How to avoid being filtered

  • Check that you’ve confirmed your email address (in your account settings)
  • Add a bio to your profile
  • Post original updates
  • Don’t send too many automated entries (eg. Rafflecopter or Gleam tweets) at once
  • Reply as well as retweet
  • Try to get more followers – follow friends, compers and local businesses in the hope they will return the favour!

But it’s not just compers that are suffering – promoters are being filtered too!  One user told me that a promoter tweeted her three times to let her know she’d won a prize – but only one of those tweets made it as far as her notifications!

What to do if you’ve been filtered

  • If you’ve been filtered from search, it is usually temporary (a day or so) – but you can try filing a complaint using this form, ticking ‘account is not showing in search’

What should promoters be doing?

I’d like to see more promoters taking responsibility for the spam they generate with retweet promotions!

  • Promoters should take note of the Twitter promotion guidelines, which state they shouldn’t post ‘duplicate, or near duplicate, updates or links’ and should ‘ask users to include an @reply’ when hosting contests.
  • single tweet should be posted for a retweet prize draw, and pinned to the top of their profile page for the duration of the promotion (which ideally should be less than 7 days, so Twitter search has a better chance of tracking entries).
  • Tweets should include a clear closing date and time, and ideally a link to T&Cs (this may not be practical, but without it, the promoter is in breach of the CAP Code) so it doesn’t continue to be retweeted for weeks after it has ended.
  • When choosing a winner, promoters should use a paid service that tracks all tweets in real time, but if that’s not possible, use Tweetdraw but add a disclaimer to say ‘Due to Twitter quality filtering, it cannot be guaranteed that every tweet will be included in the draw’ so people are aware of the filtering.

In an ideal world of course, I’d love to see every promoter asking us to interact with a reply or a photo, rather than a simple retweet. It’s more fun, less spam, and makes it harder for the cheats and bots to win. Check my own experience of choosing a winner for a RT giveaway to see how much trouble it is!

For further guidance, check Twitter Search Rules and Restrictions and Why am I missing from search?

15 Responses

  1. toadfinder says:

    Very interesting – hardly any of mine show up when I search, but nonetheless promoters have liked and/or replied to them…anyone have any ideas why this might be? Have filed a complaint as recommended so will check again in a couple of days.

  2. Vapes Motel says:

    Great info for those of us just starting to run competitions. Thanks!

  3. Lauren B says:

    I’ve just checked mine and it’s not shown any of my tweets at all this year! :/ I need to do more regular tweets! @littlelaurensbl

  4. Jackie Allum says:

    I’m being filtered #devastated. I’ve got a comp running now. This is just going to stop me doing it. I’ve ticketed them hope they sort it.

  5. Rebecca Cleary says:

    I have sent non-comping tweets but when I search for them as described above I cant see them, only comp tweets but when I go onto my twitter profile I can. Does that mean I am being filtered?

  6. Carol Turner says:

    thanks for this I tend to RT and then follow up with a personal tweet, Ive just checked mine and it seems to look ok.

  7. Monica Gilbert says:

    Is it worth going through your tweets and deleting competition ones once the winner is announced? I was just thinking it might make my account look less compy.

    • Some people choose to do this, but I think the time would be better spent sending a few non-comping original tweets after each comping session, so those are the ones at the top of your profile!

  8. sandy port says:

    I’ve had 5 twitter wins so far this month so mines fine. Lots of normal non-comping updates and photos. I use the normal retweet button for mine and normally enter very near to when the competitions end – like last day or last 15 mins if I know the time. I only retweet a comp once unless it specifically states you can enter more often. I don’t copy and paste entries. I am also very chatty with promoters and often ask question about their products etc..

  9. Chris says:

    I am confused by Twitter these days. I wonder how the organisers collect and organise their comp entries. Do they want mentions, notifications or auto retweets? Which list do they use?
    I have looked up retweeting with or without a comment – ‘with a comment’ does not count on the RT totals so would they not want that? A manual RT puts it in their ‘mentions’ list, so is that the best way? I am doing a bit of each at the moment but not too much as I hate the cheating element of Twitter comps.
    Twitter are trying to attract more business so it will be interesting to see where they go from here.

  10. Susan Peart says:

    I copy and paste a lot and only a fraction of my tweets are showing! No wonder I am not winning lol. I have filled out the form to file a complaint. Really interesting, thanks, will try replying and adding comments.

  11. Rachael Lines says:

    I have seen an increasing number of people being filtered on twitter, friends of mine – who had tweeted me vanished off the radar. It is how we noticed it was happening, as I asked her why she had deleted her tweets.

    Some compers copy and paste multiple times, and feel that is the ultimate way to gain an advantage – but if they are being filtered out, all that time and effort will simply be wasted.
    I copy and paste very rarely, and always RT the original comp tweet – however my odds of winning and very low compared to others who do copy and paste / use apps such as twitaculous.

    It would be nice if companies did pin a single tweet to the top of their timelines. With companies that pump out 100+ tweets a month for the comp, we cant possibly Rt them all, and among all the copy and pasters – there is hardly any chance of being picked as a winner from a single RT.

  12. Jackie Dawson says:

    Great advice x

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