A warning: You can only spam Twitter so much before it brings in the law. As Twitter grows — the company now claims to have 140 million active users — naturally, it’s become an attractive target for spammers, which have collectively made their drek a familiar part of the social network’s user experience. Now Twitter is officially putting its foot down and enlisting the help of the federal courts, filing a suit in San Francisco today against its five most aggressive spammers. In pursuing legal action, Twitter said in a statement on its blog, it believes it’s 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 … While this is an important step, our efforts to combat spam don’t stop here. Our engineering team continues to implement robust technical solutions that help us proactively reduce spam.
So, not only is Twitter pursuing legal action, it’s using other tools at its disposal to silence the peanut gallery, launching anti-spam measures that, among other things, specifically target @mention spam. Twitter also said that it has been using its link shortener, a.k.a. “t.co” to analyze data on spammy content and its origins, and give it the kabosh.
Obviously, spam has become a real problem on Twitter, and its taking legal action definitely functions as a clear signal that the company is taking the problem seriously. Nothing like “federal courts” to drive home the point. As Twitter users know, spammy followers are a routine occurrence, like those one-link spam tweets that end up in your “mentions” tab, for example. Twitter does implement sweeps to reduce the overall reach and tally of these spam accounts — one of the reasons we see our follower numbers periodically drop.
Of course, this is not a problem they can fight alone. The company is also asking users to help police its network, and users can find out how to report and block spammers here.
Will be updating.