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Twitter: Unable to follow more people (following 2000 limit)

Twitter has never been my favorite, especially compared to FriendFeed, but I can’t overlook the valuable built around it. Lists have just made it much better, but there’s still no decent way to manage them that I know of and they come with limitations of their own.

Twitter unable to follow more people

: You are unable to follow more people at this time. Learn more here.

Plus, I have just ran into the inexplicable “You are unable to follow more people at this time. Learn more here.” pop-up, only to discover there is a 2000  follows ! From http://help.twitter.com/forums/10711/entries/68916:

“…

What are the limits?

We don’t limit the number of followers you can have. However, we do monitor how aggressively users follow other users. We try to make sure that none of our limits restrain reasonable usage, and will not affect most Twitter users.

We monitor all accounts for aggressive and follow churn (repeatedly and un- large numbers of other users). You can read more about these below, but if you don’t follow or un-follow hundreds of users in a single day, and you aren’t using automated methods of users, you should be fine. Please note that the only automated behavior that Twitter allows is auto-follow-back ( a user after they have followed you). Automated un- is also not permitted. Please review our Automation Rules & Best Practices for more information on automating your account.

Additional limits if you are following 2000 or more people:
The rules about aggressive following and follow churn still apply. In addition, every user can follow 2000 people total. Once you’ve followed 2000 users, there are limits to the number of additional users you can follow: this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following. When you hit this limit, we’ll tell you by showing an error message in your browser. You’ll need to wait until you have more followers in order to follow more users—basically, you can’t follow 10,000 people if only 100 people follow you. When you reach a daily or total limit and we show you an error message, you’ve hit a technical limit imposed to limit egregious behavior by spam accounts and to prevent strain on the site. These are just the technical limits for your account; in addition, you are prohibited from aggressive following behaviors. These behaviors may result in account suspension, regardless of your account’s technical ratio.

Limits improve site performance by ensuring that when we send a person’s message to all of their followers, the sending of that message is meaningful. Follow limits cannot be lifted by Twitter, and everyone is subject to them, including verified and developer accounts. Based on current behavior in the Twitter community, we’ve concluded that this is both fair and reasonable.

…”

For the record, my behavior has never fallen into anything described in Twitter’s Following Limits and Best Practices page, except for trying to cross the 2000 limit. It turns out that “… this limit is different for every user and is based on your ratio of followers to following …”. It seems this ratio is a big secret, although online sources like @JanSimpson and “Using Twitter” give it a value around 1.1. Limits seem to be the approach of choice for Twitter to keep their service running. They have another one: you can only have up to 20 Lists, which, of course, you discover only when you try to create the 21st!

I am not happy with adhoc limits, particularly undocumented ones. The 2000 limit is both hidden and its mechanism undocumented by Twitter. Look it up and find that “basically, you can’t follow 10,000 people if only 100 people follow you”; hardly indicative of the ~1.1 actual ratio. Why? They claim this is to prevent spam and overload! Spam, though, can be measured with any number of real (and, preferably, documented) criteria…

I say, Twitter just can’t handle the volume. Arbitrary limits may give easy short-term solutions. Then, what? In the mean time, I have to decide weather to start unfollowing good people, try to “Get More Followers Fast” (oops, this is against the rules), try to get more followers slow (wait, “Remember, Twitter isn’t a race to get the most followers”), leave it be, or quit Twitter and concentrate on . Or put new people in an “over 2000” List…

Did I mention how disappointed I am and how alienated I feel?

17 comments to Twitter: Unable to follow more people (following 2000 limit)

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  • […] Twitter protects its ecosystem, here’s how to create an RSS feed of a Twitter List“). So, my “over2000″ list feed would be in […]

  • […] You are unable to follow more people at this time. Learn more here. […]

  • You are missing the point, Norman.

    My problem is not existence of rules and limits. My problem is them being hidden until vague, arbitrary & undocumented situations are reached, so they get to apply differently to different users. This is what is happening with Twitter and it’s just unacceptable!

    PS. Please, people, don’t write to tell me I’m wrong in a matter of preference, namely the number of people I want to follow…

  • It’s good also to limit followers to keep balance between FOLLOWING AND FOLLOWERS. Because most people are thinking they are great because they are followed that means many FANS. Very hard for them to click to follow those who follow them even no fees. It’s just a matter of thinking.

  • Meri

    now i know why 😐

  • Thanks for the article, very intersting. I recently reached the limit because I was trying to meet people so they can follow me. Yes, the logic makes sense above to have a limit.

  • Mônica Cotrim

    obrigada pela informação tva desesperadaa aqui, achando que era erro no meu Twitter

  • thanks for the info, but i have more problem that im facing the problem “You are unable to follow more people at this time. Learn more here.” from many months and my followers are still 957 none to upgrade and i get daily 3/5 emails from twitter that someone is following me,

    im sad http://twitter.com/pracas

  • For me it was no problem to hit the 3000 follower mark within a few days! just by doing automatically follow hundred new people, next day remove the non-followers and follow the next hundred.

    http://www.twitter.com/solar_news

  • Maybe, but you can’t follow any more, I suppose…

  • but i cant fllow any people

  • regards !! rather practical piece of writing

  • Following back people is like giving someone a gift!
    And when they follow without it being reciprocated, they loose the chance to follow someone else as you can only follow a set amount per people that follow you!

    That’s one of the reasons I follow back!
    So follow me today at:

    http://twitter.com/PrayMaddyMcCann

    And get followed back in just a few hours!

  • Αctually, the (not even disclosed!) ratio doesn’t tell me anything at all. I don’t spam anyone. I want to follow more than 2000 because I like what I read from them and want more of it. Plus, the discussion is not only about me but about Twitter’s practices as well.

    If Twitter wanted people to follow each other, they should have built it like Facebook. The whole point is that we follow a different set of people than the ones who follow us.

    Why are they trying to make us follow less people? Having more followers than following doesn’t make following more than 2000 more manageable.

    So, are you puzzled with everyone following thousands or people, or just me?

  • Tom

    I understand your frustration at suddenly discovering the 2000 limit if not enough people follow you back, then I’m sorry but I am baffled: WHY would you WANT to follow more than 2000 ?? I run several distinct Twitter Accounts, following about 500 others in total. I have a hard enough job keeping up with that number – all of whom I am interested in, in their different fields, and potentially interested in their tweets. If you want to follow over 2000, but the ratio to those who want to follow you back is not close enough, then doesn’t that tell you something? I’m puzzled.

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