Twitter Outlines New Policies to Reduce Financial Scams

Inside Subprime: October 18, 2019

By Lindsay Frankel

Last month, Twitter announced that it was banning financial scams on its platform. Until now, Twitter’s documentation did not directly address financial scams, which were dealt with through spam reporting. Last year, Twitter expanded spam reporting to help users identify what type of spam they were reporting.

The expanded spam reporting did not include an option to identify financial scams. Now, the new policy spells out what Twitter considers a financial scam: “Using scam tactics on Twitter to obtain money or private financial information is prohibited under this policy. You are not allowed to create accounts, post Tweets, or send Direct Messages that solicit engagement in such fraudulent schemes.”

According to the policy, this includes, relationship/trust-building scams (including impersonating a public figure or organization), money-flipping schemes (asking for a small amount of money in return for a large amount), fraudulent discounts, and phishing schemes.

Twitter has been criticized in the past for how it has handled financial scams. Early in the year, The Next Web reported that Twitter had allowed a phishing scam to run as a promoted tweet. Scams related to cryptocurrency have also run on the platform without detection.

Users still report scam the same way they report any spam: by clicking Report Tweet and then selecting It’s Suspicious or Spam. There is then an option to elaborate.

Twitter has been trying to crack down on abuse on its platform in 2019, with founder Jack Dorsey saying, “We are taking a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter” at a TED conference in April. Early this year, it reported a 16 percent drop in reported abuse (as well as a healthy surge in revenue). 

If financial scammers continue to post suspicious tweets, they risk their accounts being locked or blocked from the platform.

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