Junk Email / Spam, Social Media, Social Networking Websites, Twittering

Twitter to Spammers: You Are SO Sued!

I know all you attorneys are a totally Tweet happy bunch. So I know you all can relate to the annoyance of every time you send a tweet about your iPhone, you immediately get seven new followers with names like iPhonemadness and iPhoneaddiction.

Okay, maybe not. But Twitter spam is a problem. It is not only annoying, but it also leads to computer viruses spread through the social media platform. That’s why, in order to avoid slowly going the way of the MySpace, the company has taken a drastic step toward stopping spammers.

Sue ‘em.

The San Francisco-based company filed suit last night against some of the “most aggressive” Twitter spammers. From the Wall Street Journal Law Blog:

Social networking giant Twitter filed suit in federal court in San Francisco on Thursday against “five of the most aggressive tool providers and spammers,” in an effort to battle spam that its users receive, according to the company’s statement. Saying it is going “straight to the source,” Twitter aims to shut down the tool providers and prevent other spammers from having those services at their disposal. It also hopes the suit will serve as a deterrent.

“As our engineers continue to combat spammers with strong safeguards and technical efforts, today we’re adding another weapon to our arsenal: the law,” Twitter said in its statement.

In response to the lawsuit, the defendants said, “Listen now, Mr. Kansas California law dog. Law don’t go ’round here, savvy?”

Reuters explains more specifically how these spammers work (for the record, the defendants did not actually respond to Reuters’ or the WSJ’s requests for comment):

Twitter filed a lawsuit on Thursday in a U.S. court against five websites that it accuses of creating tools for spamming, as the social media firm battles a wave of automated tweets barraging real users with anything from Viagra ads to virus-ridden links.

Often billed as a service to help a Twitter account gain followers, websites can take control of an account, known as a bot, that follows or sends automated tweets at real users in the hope that some will follow the bot back or click through links the bot has sent out.

It seems a little unclear what exactly Twitter is suing for, but Reuters reports that both Google and Facebook have done it with some success in the past. Regardless, the spam companies do sound like internet evil incarnate:

TweetAttacks presents itself as a “Twitter marketing system” on its website, and claims to provide the user the ability to create “dozens, hundreds or thousands of accounts” in a few minutes, which can then be used to market to Twitter users. It also claims “your profiles will appear to have been created by real people, so it’s a lot more likely that they will stick.” The Pro version of the software claims the user’s messages and links can be seen by “thousands or tens of thousands of Twitter users in a matter of minutes.”

Ug. Just reading that makes me feel a little bit like Stan Marsh talking to a television jewelry salesman.

Godspeed, Twitter. May the internet gods shine down favorably upon your valiant quest.

Twitter Sues Five of the ‘Most Aggressive’ Spammers [WSJ Law Blog]
Twitter Takes Spammers To Court In New Suit [Reuters]

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