Tired of Twitter spam? So is Twitter. So tired, in fact, that they’ve released their legal hounds to run down several of the worst spam-tastic perps. Does this mean we can finally stop using all those clumsy, fidgety, not-much-better-than-manually-vetting-stuff-yourself spam-block tools?
Not by a long shot, but at least Twitter’s putting some litigative muscle behind its latest anti-spam maneuver. The company writes on its blog that one of its challenges in combatting spam is “bad actors who build tools designed to distribute spam on Twitter (and the web) by making it easier for other spammers to engage in this annoying and potentially malicious activity.”
To that end, Twitter says it just filed suit in a San Francisco federal court against five of “the most aggressive tool providers and spammers.”
With this suit, we’re going straight to the source. By shutting down tool providers, we will prevent other spammers from having these services at their disposal. Further, we hope the suit acts as a deterrent to other spammers, demonstrating the strength of our commitment to keep them off Twitter.
This isn’t the first time Twitter’s addressed the issue. In March 2010, the company issued a note titled “State of Twitter Spam,” in which it said things were actually looking up:
While the battle will never be over, we’re doing well on the front lines. Advertising Age recently profiled our Trust and Safety team noting the strong progress we’ve made keeping Twitter light on spam. With help from engineers on our Research team like @wfarner, we’ve moved the percentage of spam flowing through the Twitter network way down—and counting.
It sounds like we’ve backslid since (and speaking for my own Twitter feed, it surely feels that way), so it’s nice to see Twitter taking formal action at their own expense to thwart 140-character ne’er-do-wells. The company says it’s also, just this week, “launched new anti-spam measures within Twitter to more aggressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam.” And it says its t.co link shortener is capable of analyzing whether a Twitter link redirects to malware or other harmful content.
But as always, the best offense may be a crowd-sourced defense: Twitter says you can help “by reporting and blocking spammers you encounter on Twitter.”