Twitter Sues SpammersWritten by Pace Lattin
April 7, 2012 # 2:46 pm # Industry News, Specials # 10 Comments
Twitter has sued five companies that it claims that are behind pretty much the vast majority of marketing spam that is on Twitter right now. The suit names both individuals engaged in spam and companies that have helped proliferate spam. Includes in the suit are TweetAttacks, TweetAdder, TweetBudddy and James Lucero and Garland Harris.
In a complaint filed before the U.S District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division, Twitter alleged that some of the defendants distribute software tools designed to facilitate the abuse of its platform and market it to dupe consumers into violating Twitter’s user agreement, while others operate large numbers of automated Twitter accounts, through which they attempt to trick Twitter users into clicking on links to illegitimate websites. Twitter’s user agreement prohibits spamming in its terms of service, it said.
This morning, we filed suit in federal court in San Francisco 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.
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. For example, earlier this week, our engineers launched new anti-spam measures within Twitter to more aggressively suspend a new type of @ mention spam. Additionally, we now use our link shortener (t.co) to analyze whether a tweeted link leads to malware or malicious content. This helps us prevent users from visiting malicious links and helps us shut down hundreds of thousands of abusive accounts. You can help out, too, by reporting and blocking spammers you encounter on Twitter.
Obviously Twitter is taking serious complaints by users that a vast majority of Twitter is somewhat useless. According to MarketingCharts, users claim that only 36% of Tweets are worth reading:
Twitter users rated only 36% of the tweets they received as worth reading, while they expressed ambivalence about 39% and said 25% were not worth reading, according to [pdf] research released in January 2012 by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), which looked at data gleaned from December 2010 to January 2011. “Question to followers” tweets were the least disliked of the various categories studied, with an 18% probability of being rated not worth reading. By contrast, “me now” tweets regarding current mood or activity were among the most disliked, with just a 22% chance of being rated worth reading.