Promoted Accounts on Twitter

Danny Sullivan, MarketingLand:

Take a look at your “Following” list on Twitter. You might find some brands or people showing up there, even if you don’t follow them. If so, that seems due to either a new change or a newly noticed change in how Twitter is doing placement for promoted accounts.

Credit to William Shatner who spotted this first — or if not first — has been the most vocal about it. He noted that MasterCard was showing up on the list of accounts he was following, even though he wasn’t actually following them.

I noticed this too a couple of weeks ago, but I entirely forgot about it because I don’t really use the official Twitter apps or website; none of Twitter’s promoted content shows up in third-party apps.

This is super sleazy. Promoted tweets from people you don’t follow showing up in your timeline is one thing; that feels like a typical social media ad. But making it appear as though I’m following accounts that I’m not? That’s real sketchy. MasterCard is one thing — I don’t hold a strong opinion on the company. But what if some company I am philosophically opposed to buys a promoted spot and it appears in my list of people I’m following?