Twitter Has Display Requirements – Is Your Site Compliant?

Here at Slice n Press, we work with a lot of great designers. We’re very fortunate to see some incredible design work that we get to turn into beautiful websites. One of the things we often see in a design are twitter feeds. These feeds show a company’s latest tweets – they’re a great way to help engage visitors to your site with your twitter activity. Most of the time, these tweet feeds are integrated into the design in a way that works really well with the rest of the site. There might be white text on a soft teal background or a nice image behind some stylized tweet boxes. Often times though, this is actually breaking Twitter’s new display guidelines and is putting your account at risk.

The Display Requirements

Earlier this year, Twitter made some changes to their API. Some of these changes required mobile apps to limit their total number of users or forced users of the API to authenticate for access to Twitter’s data. As part of this change, Twitter introduced “Display Requirements.” These dictate how your site can display tweets. You can read the full set of requirements here. If you don’t want to read through everything, the summarized version basically says that tweets displayed on your site should look like tweets displayed on – complete with user details, reply/retweet/favorite buttons, etc.

Why Follow The “Guidelines?”

In short, Twitter says the “Guidelines” are actually “Requirements” – if you don’t follow them then you risk Twitter taking action against your account. I’m not sure they’ve specified exactly what that action would be, but it’s likely shutting off access to the API and/or suspending your account. Now I haven’t heard of anyone who’s had their account suspended for breaking the display requirements, but I assume this is something Twitter will start enforcing more in the future as site owners have time to update their feeds and designs.

How to Show Tweets

To properly show tweets on your site, Twitter offers 2 options. The first is their “widget.” You can get the widget code by going into your account and creating a snippet of code that you can copy and paste into your site. This makes it super easy to setup a Twitter feed, however you have very little control over the style of the feed.

The second option is to either use a plugin or develop a solution that connects to the API. A great option for WordPress is Twitter Widget Pro. Granted, you’ll still need to make sure that you style things and configure the settings to comply with the guidelines, but this plugin makes the work much easier than manually coding a solution.

In the end, showing a Twitter feed on your site is a great way to increase user engagement with your social activities so following the display requirements is definitely worth your time and effort to get things set up the right way.

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